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Transport: Seat Belts

Volume 689: debated on Thursday 22 February 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they will take in response to the mid-term review of the European Road Safety Action Programme 2006/2112 (INI) in respect of the requirement to wear seat belts in areas where fatal and serious injury accidents are rising. [HL2086]

Seat-belt wearing has been a legal requirement in most vehicles for many years. Observed wearing rates are very high in cars and are improving in vans. The department campaigns to improve seat-belt wearing rates through publicity. The police are responsible for enforcement, and in England and Wales in 2004 they issued some 200,000 fixed-penalty notices to those not using seat belts. However, in many cases, rather than prosecute the police prefer to educate drivers about the need to use seat belts.

The UK is implementing Directive 2003/20/EC in full. It updates the requirements for children to use type-approved child seats or boosters and makes seat-belt wearing compulsory for those in the rear of buses and coaches where seat belts are fitted. Implementation will be completed for children under 14 years in buses/coaches following further consultation about who should be legally responsible for ensuring that they use seat belts.