The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced plans to start consultation on additional punishment for drivers found not to be wearing a seat belt.
As well as receiving an on the spot fine for failing for to wear one, this additional punishment could see drivers lose their licence for not buckling up properly.
The current penalty is a £100 fine, but no points are added to a driver’s licence.
This deterrent is currently used in Northern Ireland, with 3 points awarded for drivers caught without their seat belt on. The DfT is yet to confirm how strong the punishment would be.
If drivers collect 12 points or more on their licence within 3 years, they will be disqualified from driving.
According to statistics from the DfT, 27% of the 787 car occupants who died in crashes on British roads in 2017 weren’t wearing a seat belt – compared to 20% in 2016.
Ministers are also looking into introducing in-car breathalyser devices in vehicles driven by convicted drink drivers. Dubbed alcolocks, the system is already used on French coaches and it prevents a driver from starting a vehicle until they’ve passed an alcohol breath test.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “The UK has some of the safest roads in the world, but we are not complacent and continue to look at how we can make them safer.
“Today’s action plan is a key milestone in our road safety work and sets out the important steps we are taking to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.”
Edmund King OBE, the AA’s president, says: “It is frightening and alarming that 27% of car occupants who died in 2017 were not wearing seatbelts according to Government figures.
“We believe that penalties for not wearing seat belts should be toughened up as soon as possible, including higher fines and more penalty points to persuade drivers of the importance of strapping in properly.
“It is perhaps surprising that drivers had not learnt from the high-profile car crash that claimed the lives of Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul, none of whom were wearing seat belts. There is a particular problem with rear-seat passengers and we believe the driver should persuade all passengers of the importance of using available seat belts – even for very short journeys.”