More than two-thirds of motorists believe that drivers should be responsible for making sure that all passengers in a vehicle wear seatbelts, a new survey has found.

At present, drivers only have to ensure that they and any children in the car are properly buckled up, including car seats or booster seats depending on age. However, new research from the RAC suggests that this responsibility should be ‘broadened to include all passengers’ with a third of respondents stating that drivers should be penalised if anyone they’re travelling with is caught without wearing a seatbelt.

Today (January 31) marks 40 years since it became mandatory for drivers to wear seatbelts in vehicles that had them fitted, but the RAC’s study has found that the current law is too lenient for many. At present, drivers can be fined up to £500 for failing to wear a seatbelt, but those questioned believe that drivers should have to both pay a fine and also receive ‘at least’ three points on their licences.

Four per cent of the 1,800 drivers questioned – or around 1.7m licence holders in Great Britain – admit to having driven without a seatbelt over the last 12 months, with around a fifth of these saying that they don’t belt up at least half of the time. In addition, seven per cent of those spoken to admit to not wearing a seatbelt when travelling as a passenger in another vehicle.

RAC road safety spokesman Simon Williams said: “Forty years on from the introduction of what is undeniably one the most important road safety laws, it’s still the case that far too many people don’t wear seatbelts – something that’s a factor in around 30% of all road deaths each year. It’s also sadly the case that people are twice as likely to die in a crash if they’re not wearing one.”

Around half of those spoken to would like to see those caught sent on a dedicated ‘seatbelt awareness course’ while more than a third were in favour of police using some type of camera-based technology to catch people travelling without wearing a seatbelt.


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