50 years of seatbelt safety in the UK

Written by: Fuel Card Services, Last updated:14th February 2023

The seatbelt can be attributed as one of the most important safety innovations in all of motoring history and it is this year celebrating its 50th anniversary of compulsory use in the UK.

Legislation making it mandatory for all new cars to be fitted with seatbelts came into effect in the UK in 1966 and revolutionised road safety for the nation’s drivers and passengers alike.

For the past ten years, official government statistics have shown seatbelt use by all vehicle occupants has stood well above 90 per cent, with the latest data for 2014 showing seatbelt use is now habitual for 98 per cent of all road users.

Road safety minister Andrew Jones commented: “Many families have been spared the heartbreak of a death or serious injury of a loved one as a result of a simple action at the start of each trip.

“While the vast majority of people do wear seatbelts in both the front and back seats, there are still some who don’t and I urge all drivers and passengers to make sure they are safely belted in, even on the shortest of journeys.”

Individuals that fail to belt up could be opening themselves not only to an increased risk of injury in the case of an accident, but also to on-the-spot fines of up to £100, the minister warned.

Mr Jones concluded that, while campaigns to highlight the risks of failing to wear a seatbelt have changed somewhat during the last five decades, what has stayed the same is the undoubted benefits to safety that this simple technology has delivered.

Taking the time to put on a seatbelt is therefore great advice that motorists up and down the country should continue to take heed of in the decades to come.