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The exemptions to wearing a seatbelt are:

  • A person who has a medical certificate, which states that on medical grounds it is not advisable for them to wear a seatbelt (including for pregnancy);
  • Drivers of vehicles performing manoeuvres which include reversing (three point turn). This includes a qualified driver supervising a learner driver performing manoeuvres including reversing;
  • The driver of or a passenger in a goods vehicle on a journey not exceeding 50 metres undertaken for delivering or collecting anything;
  • A disabled person who is wearing a disabled person's belt;
  • A person driving/riding in a vehicle for fire brigade or police purposes or for carrying a person in lawful custody including the detained person himself;
  • The driver of a licensed taxi while being used for seeking hire, or answering a call for hire, or carrying a passenger for hire;
  • A private hire vehicle while it is being used to carry a passenger for hire;
  • A person driving under a trade licence whilst driving the vehicle investigating or fixing a mechanical fault;
  • A person involved in a procession organised by or on behalf of the Crown or which is commonly or customarily held, or a procession which a notice under Section 11 of the Public Order Act 1986 has been issued;
  • A person conducting a test of competence to drive and the wearing of a seatbelt would endanger himself or any other person;
  • A person driving a vehicle if the driver's seat is not provided with an adult belt;
  • A person riding in the front of a vehicle if no adult belt is available for them in the front of the vehicle;
  • A person riding in the rear of a vehicle if no adult belt is available for them in the rear of the vehicle;
  • A person riding in a small or large bus which is being used to provide a local service in a built-up area (where the entire route consists of restricted roads); or
  • A person riding in a small or large bus which is constructed or adapted for the carriage of standing passengers and on which the operator permits standing.

Failing to wear a seat belt outside any of these exemptions is an offence.

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.