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    "If you've been injured through no fault of your own you could be entitled to compensation. If you're unsure if you could claim, I recommend you call Accident Advice Helpline."

    Esther Rantzen

    The Law on Seat Belts


    It’s hard to imagine a time now when wearing seat belts wasn’t compulsory, but in fact wearing seat belts in both the front and back of a vehicle has only been a legal requirement since the early nineties. Prior to this, wearing a seat belt was only compulsory in the front of a vehicle. It took ten years for even this law to get through parliament due to various setbacks. Since 1983, it’s estimated that seat belts have saved over 50,000 lives of front passengers alone.

    Is it always necessary to wear a seat belt?

    Although it’s compulsory for most drivers and passengers to wear a seat belt at all times, there are some exceptions. For example, no one has to wear a seat belt in a vehicle that is being used for police, fire and rescue services. A driver who is reversing doesn’t have to wear a seat belt. Delivery drivers going less than 50 metres between each stop don’t have to wear a seat belt during these short trips. A licensed taxi driver who is ‘plying for hire’ or carrying passengers is also not required by law to wear a seat belt.

    If you have a medical problem that makes wearing a seat belt very uncomfortable or impossible you must obtain legal permission not to wear one. Your doctor can give you a Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Seat Belt Wearing, which you must then keep with you any time you are travelling in a motor vehicle without wearing a seat belt.

    Can I still claim personal injury compensation if I wasn’t wearing a seat belt?

    Just because you weren’t wearing a seat belt at the time of an accident does not mean you’re unable to claim personal injury compensation. The accident must be mainly due to the negligence of the other driver, however. If this is the case, you will still be able to claim, but your claim may be deducted due to your ‘contributory negligence.’ The judge will take account of the fact that you should have been wearing a seat belt when assessing the amount of compensation you are due, as your injuries may have been less severe.

    If you’d like to find out more about personal injury compensation, call our expert advisors at Accident Advice Helpline. They’ll be able to discuss your situation in detail and explain how a judge will decide on your deductions for contributory negligence.

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    Date Published: February 18, 2014

    Author: David Brown

    Accident Advice Helpline (or AAH) is a trading style of Slater Gordon Solutions Legal Limited. Slater Gordon Solutions Legal Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with registration number 07931918, VAT 142 8192 16, registered office Dempster Building, Atlantic Way, Brunswick Business Park, Liverpool, L3 4UU and is an approved Alternative Business Structure authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

    Disclaimer: This website contains content contributed by third parties, therefore any opinions, comments or other information expressed on this site that do not relate to the business of AAHDL or its associated companies should be understood as neither being held or endorsed by this business.

    No-Win No-Fee: *Subject to insurance costs. Fee payable if case not pursued at client's request.