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Two million drivers don't wear a seatbelt

Press release: 30/09/2014

  • One in twenty (6%) drivers don't wear a seatbelt when driving and 9% don't wear one when they are a front-seat passenger
  • Close to half (47%) of motorists are unaware they can be fined for not wearing a seatbelt
  • 180,000 drivers were pulled over last year and issued a Fixed Penalty Notice for seatbelt offences
  • Motorists have been fined £8.2 million so far this year for failing to belt up while driving

More than 30 years on from the introduction of legislation to make wearing a seatbelt compulsory in cars, close to two million drivers are still failing to buckle up - according to new research from LV= car insurance.

Since 1983, Police have had powers to stop and fine drivers for not wearing a seatbelt or for not having child passengers (aged under 14) properly restrained in their vehicle. The laws were introduced to increase driving safety and to save lives on the road. Despite this, close to half (47%) of drivers do not know they can be fined for not wearing a seatbelt and one in 20 (6%) say they still do not always wear a seatbelt when driving - equivalent to nearly two million motorists [1].

Police data obtained by a freedom of information request from LV= car insurance reveals that close to 180,000 drivers were pulled over last year and issued a Fixed Penalty Notice for failing to wear their seatbelt. So far in 2014, over 80,000 drivers have been stopped by the Police and have been charged with £8.2 million in fines for seatbelt offences.

While the majority of drivers say they always wear a seatbelt when driving, people are much more lax when travelling as a passenger. One in ten (9%) drivers don't always wear a seatbelt when they are travelling as a front-seat passenger, a quarter (24%) don't when sitting in the backseat and a massive four in ten (42%) fail to belt up when travelling by taxi.

It would seem that the majority of drivers who fail to wear a seatbelt do so because they forget to buckle up or because they find it uncomfortable (32% and 22% respectively). Younger drivers (aged 25-34) say they don't always wear one if they're going on a short journey (28%) or if they are in a rush (13%). Yet for older drivers (aged 65 and over), close to nine in 10 (85%) say they find wearing one too restricting and a third (33%) say that they are afraid of getting stuck in the car if they have an accident.

Yet these fears are unfounded as safety experts calculate that wearing a seatbelt can significantly increase the chance of surviving a collision. Official figures from the Department for Transport indicate that around one in five (19%) people killed in car accidents in 2013 year were not wearing seatbelts – equating to 149 people [2]. Of these, safety experts estimate that 50% would have survived if they had been restrained [3].

Wearing a seatbelt can drastically improve your chances of survival in an accident, even if it's just for a short journey. The research shows that too many people are still taking unnecessary risks when driving or travelling as a passenger. There is only so much you can do to prevent being in a car accident but wearing a seatbelt costs nothing and it may save your life one day.

John O'Roarke, Managing Director of LV= car insurance

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For further information please contact:

Vanessa Chance,, 0208 256 6996/ 07947 380074


LV= employs 5,800 people and serves over 5.5 million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK's largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual.

When we started in 1843 our goal was to give financial security to more than just a privileged few and for many decades we were most commonly associated with providing a method of saving to people of modest means. Today we follow a similar purpose, helping people to protect and provide for the things they love, although on a much larger scale and through a wide range of financial services including insurance, investment and retirement products.

We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers, and through strategic partnerships with organisations such as ASDA, Nationwide Building Society and a range of trade unions.

Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.


  1. Source: ICM omnibus data. According to the research, 30,500,000 people drive in the UK and of these 6% do not always wear a seatbelt, equating to 1,830,000 drivers.
  2. Source: According to the Department for Transport, Strategic Framework for Road Safety outcome indicators, Great Britain, table RAS41001, updated 25 September 2014: 19% of car occupants killed were not wearing a seat belt. There were 1,713 fatalities from road accidents in 2013, of which 785 were car occupants; 19% of 785 = 149 people.
  3. Source: The Department for Transport THINK! campaign