Mandatory Seat Belt Laws in Great Britain

Updated July 20, 2017

In Great Britain it is a legal requirement that both the driver and passengers of any car, van or lorry wear a seat belt for reasons of safety. Not wearing a seat belt can result in a fixed penalty fine if you're caught by police and a £500 fine if you're taken to court. Penalty points can also be added to your driving license. It has been a law to wear a seat belt in the UK since 1983 and in 2006 new laws were added with regards to children wearing restraints.


The driver of a vehicle in the UK must wear a seat belt according to the law, but is exempt during the time he is under taking a reverse manoeuvre, if he is a disabled person wearing a disabled person's belt, or of the car is too old to have seat belts. Drivers of police cars, emergency vehicles and taxi drivers are also exempt from this law under certain situations.

Children Over 14

Any passenger in a vehicle who is over the age of 14 years must wear an adult seat belt.

Children Between 12 and 13

Child passengers aged between 12 and 13 years old, or a child of any age above 5 feet in height, must wear an adult seat belt. It is the legal responsibility of the car's driver to ensure any child under the age of 14 is wearing a seat belt when travelling with her.

Children Ages 3 to 11

Children ages 3 to 11, or under 5 feet in height, must either wear a child restraint or booster cushion. Group II category booster seats are for children who weigh between 15kg and 25kg, or are between 4 and 6 years old. Group III booster cushions are for children from 6 years old and upwards, or those weighing 22kg to 36kg.

Children Ages 3 and Younger

Children who are 3 years old or younger must wear a child restraint. These may include a baby carrier or child seat. All restraints must carry either the BS kite mark or the UN E mark. Baby seats are rear-facing and Group 0 category seats are for children weighing up to 13kg, or between birth and 12 months old. Group I category seats are forwards facing and for children between 9kg and 18kg, or between the ages of nine months to four years. It is against the law to carry a child in a rear-facing child seat in the front passenger seat of a car that has an active front airbag.


Child or adult passengers must also wear seat belts when travelling in mini buses, buses or coaches. Adults are responsible for wearing their own seat belt, while it is the driver's responsibility to ensure children under 14 years old are wearing seat belts.

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