Drivers who don’t wear a seat belt ‘should get three penalty points’
In Northern Ireland, failing to wear a seat belt already carries a three penalty point punishment.
But 72% of Brits think the law should be extended to England, Scotland and Wales, research from Direct Line Car Insurance found.
Some 58% of people thought three points would be an appropriate punishment, but three in 10 said the penalty should be six points.
One in 20 people said flouting seat belt laws should result in an automatic driving ban of at least three months.
The current penalty for not wearing a seat belt is £100, just 20% of the average weekly wage in the UK, with a maximum penalty of £500 if the case goes to court.
The research shows confusion over who is responsible for ensuring adult passengers wear a seat belt in their car. Only a third of Brits know the driver of the car and the adult passengers are legally responsible for wearing a seat belt.
Over two fifths mistakenly thought it was only the responsibility of the driver to ensure adult passengers in their car are wearing a seat belt.
Direct Line and The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) are calling for the government to introduce harsher penalties for those not found to be wearing a seat belt.
A report found that of the 787 people killed on the road in cars in 2017, over 200 were not wearing a seat belt and over 1,000 people were seriously injured in the same year for the same reason.
David Davies, executive director of PACTS, said: “Our report shows the road safety community has taken its eye off the ball. It points to ways to increase wearing among the minority who forget or choose not to do so. In particular, PACTS recommends making it an enforceable offence, with three penalty points. This would have no impact on most drivers or passengers but could substantially reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured each year.”
Penalty points were introduced for seat belt non-use in Northern Ireland in 2007 and drivers receive points for not wearing a seat belt themselves or carrying an unbelted passenger who is under the age of 14.
The Republic of Ireland introduced a points system in 2003 and this was followed by immediate and significant reduction in road traffic accident rates, road deaths (11% reduction in the first year) and non-fatal injuries (20% reduction in the first year).