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United Kingdom


Seat belts

The use of seat belts and child restraint systems is MANDATORY.

Exemptions for:

  • a driver who is reversing, or supervising a learner driver who is reversing;
  • in a vehicle being used for police, fire and rescue services;
  • a passenger in a trade vehicle who is investigating a mechanical fault;
  • driving a goods vehicle on deliveries that is travelling no more than 50 metres between stops;
  • a licensed taxi driver who is ‘plying for hire’ or carrying passengers.

Medical exemptions for seat belts

Your doctor may say you do not have to wear a seat belt for a medical reason. They will give you a ‘Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Seat Belt Wearing’. You must:

  • keep this in your vehicle;
  • show it to the police if you’re stopped.

You’ll also need to tell your car insurer.

Vehicles without seat belts

For vehicles without seat belts AND originally made without seat belts (e.g. a classic car):
  • drivers are not allowed to carry children under 3;
  • children over 3 are only allowed to sit in the back seats.

Child restraint systems

  • Children under the age of 3 must use an appropriate child restraint system, whether travelling on the front or the rear seat.
    Exemption: a child under the age of 3 may travel unrestrained in a taxi if a child restraint is not available.
  • Children aged 3 or older and up to 135 cm in height or 12 years of age (whichever they reach first) must also use an appropriate child restraint system, whether travelling on the front or the rear seat.
    Exemptions: if travelling in the rear seat of:
    • a taxi OR
    • a motor vehicle, for a short distance and in an unexpected necessity OR
    • a motor vehicle where two occupied child restraints prevent fitting a third one (then they must use an adult seat belt if a child restraint is not available
  • Children aged 12 or 13 or over 135 cm in height must use an adult seat belt.

The information on this website according to Article 8(1) of the road safety directive (Directive 2011/82/EU) has been compiled by the Commission. In the event of any conflict between the provided data and the rules in effect in the United Kingdom, the latter take precedence. The data are meant purely as a documentation tool and the Commission does not assume any liability for their content or their accuracy.