Why wear a seat belt?
The law requires you to use a seatbelt if one is fitted. Seat belt wearing in the front seat saves over 2,100 lives every year. In a collision at 30 mph if you are unrestrained you hit the front seat and anyone in it with a force of between 30 and 60 times your own body weight. This sort of impact could result in death or serious injury to rear and front seat, occupants. Any award for damages following a collision may be reduced if a seat belt was not being worn.
Which Vehicles does the law affect?
The front seats of all vehicles this includes vans, coaches, buses, and good vehicles where seat belts are fitted. Rear seats of cars and small minibuses with an unladen weight of 2,540kgs or less where seat belts are fitted. The law does not require seat belts to be worn in the rear seats of larger minibuses or coaches. They should be worn if available.
What if there are not enough seatbelts?
Seatbelt wearing law does not prevent you from carrying more passengers than there are seat belts and restraints, but the way in which passengers are carried must not cause danger to any person in the vehicle. If you have to choose who rides without a belt or restraint remember that heavier passengers can cause greater injury to others in a collision than lighter passengers.
You must wear a seatbelt if one is fitted. You must not carry an unrestrained child in the front seat of any vehicle. Children under three years travelling in the front of any vehicle MUST be carried in an appropriate child restraint. The adult seat belt must not be used. If an appropriate child restraint or seatbelt is available for use in the front but not in the rear children between 3 and 11 and under 1.5m in height must use the front seat restraint or seatbelt.
Driver and front seat passengers should sit as far back as is reasonably possible from the steering wheel or dashboard to reduce the possibility of serious head or chest injuries in an accident. Lap and diagonal belts provide more protection and should be used before lap only belts.
Adjust the seat belt properly. Place the lap belt as low as possible over the hips not the abdomen. Ensure the shoulder belt lies on the chest and over the shoulder. Do not leave any slack in the belt.
Many cars are now fitted with height adjusters for the diagonal strap. The diagonal strap should be adjusted to lie centrally over the shoulder and away from the neck. Adjust the strap so it lies in contact with your shoulder and slopes up and back to the anchorage point.
Do not interfere with the correct function of the seat belt by fitting any comfort devices that are not recommended by your vehicle manufacturer.
Do not attempt to improve seat belt comfort with padding or cushions. It is not advisable to sit on mats or cushions other than those originally fitted by the vehicle manufacturer. Avoid thick clothing under the seatbelt.
The centre rear seats of many cars are fitted with a lap only seat belt that must be adjusted manually. It is important that you adjust such belts for a snug fit over your hips without any
For more information on child car seats please visit www.childcarseats.org.uk. Or for help on finding the right child seat for your car please visit the Britax website and click on Fit-finder™.
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