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Wearing a seatbelt is not optional

by Anjali Kanish

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The wearing of seatbelts when driving or travelling as a passenger in a moving vehicle has been compulsory in the UK for over 30 years so why are so many people not buckling up?

According to a new survey conducted by car insurer LV has found that a staggering 6% of drivers are still driving without a seatbelt. The BBC has reported that an incredible 47% did not know that not wearing a seatbelt would incur a fine or penalty. In fact, 80,000 drivers have been fined already this year for not wearing seatbelts with the following reasons given by offenders:

  • 32% said that they had simply forgotten to belt up
  • 22% said that they found them uncomfortable and restrictive when driving

These figures are all the more surprising as modern cars tend to make difficult not to wear a seatbelt by integrating buzzers and beepers to remind drivers.

As well as the obvious safety risks, there is a mandatory fine of £500 for not wearing a seatbelt while it can also impact on any insurance or personal injury claim if you are involved in an accident, even if it wasn't your fault.

Anjali Kanish, an associate at Shoosmiths who specialises in handling personal injury claims said:

"It is almost unbelievable that in this day and age that some drivers still take to the roads without wearing a seatbelt. A relatively minor accident can easily turn into a serious injury with life changing consequences if a driver or passenger is not wearing a seatbelt.

Drivers should make certain they and all of their passengers are belted up before starting any journey. It is also worth noting that we have seen instances where a compensation award for serious injuries caused by another driver have been reduced by up to 25% due to the fact that they were not wearing a seatbelt when the accident happened".

Anjali adds:

"While we have seen reductions of up to 25%, the court is at liberty to make a higher reduction"

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