Lady putting on her seatbelt before driving off

Seatbelts | Rules & Regulations

When it comes to keeping safe in any kind of vehicle when driving in the UK, the first thing you should always do is buckle up. Seatbelts exist for a reason – to keep you safe! Seat belt laws may differ from country to country, however, if you want to make sure you and your passengers are safe from potential injury on the road, you must be sure to use the appropriate seat belt buckle and seat belt extension.

If you’re normally lax when it comes to using a car seat belt, it’s time to make a change. Not only is driving and riding in vehicles without a seat belt extremely dangerous, but it’s also illegal under specific conditions. Read on to learn more about the highway code, and why the UK highway law demands that you buckle up to stay safe – no matter what vehicle you drive.

The UK Laws in Brief

So – let’s consider the main reasons why seat belt law exists in the UK at all. While you may not find seat belts on some buses and trains, it’s the law that you must wear them in cars, vans, and other small road vehicles. Crucially, if your vehicle comes with belts, you must wear them at all times when on the road.

Believe it or not, it has only been law since 1991 for children to wear seat belts in moving vehicles while in the back seat. In fact, cars have only required back seat belts since 1987.

The law in brief states that you must wear seat belts, generally, if they’re fitted to your vehicle. However, the rules are slightly different in a couple of scenarios. For example, the UK law states that very young children must have approved restraints in place.

Pregnant women, too, must wear seat belts – though they won’t have to if a doctor’s note says otherwise. Even if it’s starting to get uncomfortable, you must keep wearing a belt. The general advice is to try and position your lap belt gently below your belly.

UK digital road sign saying "Seat belts save lives. Always wear your seat belt."

What About Pets?

Technically, pets in vehicles won’t have to wear seat belts. However, you must restrain them appropriately to avoid them distracting you while travelling. What’s more, you’re going to want to keep your pets as safe as possible, too!

Therefore, look into safe, pet-friendly restraints online or at local, verified pet shops. Pets shouldn’t miss out on car safety just because seat belts aren’t technically made for them!

The Bottom Line: Wear a Seatbelt

The seat belt law in the UK is clear – if you have one, buckle up. Seat belt legislation elsewhere in Europe may vary, though European Union laws run similar to UK statutes. Since 2006, it’s been EU law for member state vehicles to use belts in all vehicles which run them.

It’s thought that failure to use a seatbelt kills thousands of people each year. Do you really want to be part of that statistic? Make sure to buckle up firmly and safely each time you head out on the road. If you’re looking for a car, van, or even a pickup to hire in or around Oxfordshire, we are the place for you! Here at Eurodrive, all of our vehicles are safe and ready to take you on your next journey at the click of a button. If you would like to find out more about how we can help you, please get in touch today.

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