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Council and Police Fines

Seat Belt Fine – Do I Pay or Appeal? 

Scott Nelson MoneyNerd Janine Marsh MoneyNerd
Scott Nelson MoneyNerd

Scott Nelson

Debt Expert

Scott Nelson is a renowned debt expert who supports people in debt with debt management and debt solution resources.

Learn more about Scott
Janine Marsh MoneyNerd

Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.

Learn more about Janine
· May 27th, 2024
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seat belt fine

Have you been caught not wearing a seatbelt in a moving car and wondering what to do next? This article will help you understand all you need to know. Our website guides more than 130,000 people every month on how to handle fines and tickets. So, you’re not the only one in this situation.

In this article, we’ll explain:

  • What a seat belt fine is.
  • Whether you must pay a seat belt fine.
  • How to appeal a seat belt fine.
  • The amount you might need to pay in the UK.
  • What could happen if you ignore the fine.

We know getting fined for not wearing a seatbelt can be worrying. Maybe you’re concerned about how much you’ll need to pay, or you’re not sure if you did something wrong. We’re here to help you make sense of it all. We’ve got plenty of useful tips to guide you through this. So, don’t worry – we understand your worries and are here to help.

Let’s dive in.

Most Appeals Succeed

In some circumstances, you might have a legitimate reason not to pay your fine.

It’s a bit sneaky, but the last time I needed legal advice, I paid £5 for a trial to chat with an online solicitor called JustAnswer.

Not only did I save £50 on solicitor feeds, I also won my case and didn’t have to pay my £271 fine.

Chat below to get started with JustAnswer

*Around 35,000 people dispute their tickets each year with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, and a striking 64% of those appeals are successful, so it’s well worth a try. 

What is a Seat Belt Fine?

You can be slapped with up to £500 as a fine for no seat belt. Although most often, seat belt fines are £100 – unless you go to court and are found guilty, in which case the exact fine depends on the circumstances and discretion of the court. It’s not just the driver at risk of a fine either; anyone in the vehicle should also use a seat belt where there is one

Why do we need seat belts?

Seat belts are worn to retain people in their seats, preventing or reducing injuries in a crash and significantly reducing the risk of being thrown from a vehicle.

Seat belts help to prevent fatalities. You’re twice as likely to die in a crash if you don’t wear a seat belt. Official statistics from the Department for Transport state that of the 682 people who died in collisions in cars in Great Britain in 2021, an estimated 23% were not wearing a seat belt.

Can I use a lap belt instead of a 3-point seat belt?

Most manufacturers now fit 3-point seat belts as standard, and they are safer, but lap belts are legal and will increase your safety over not wearing one at all.

What are the exceptions for not wearing a seat belt?

Usually, everyone who is in a seat in a vehicle needs to wear a seat belt if there is one, but there are a couple of exceptions to that rule.

  • Medical exemption – if you have a Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Seat Belt Wearing, it must be with you in the vehicle and presented to police officers when asked. (as a side note, your insurance company does need to be made aware of this).
  • A licensed taxi driver who is carrying passengers or plying for hire
  • If you are taking goods 50 metres or less between stops
  • A police, rescue or fire service vehicle
  • A driver who is supervising a learner driver to reverse, or a driver who is reversing
  • Passenger in a trade vehicle who is investigating a fault

Successful Appeal Case Study


Initial Fine £100
Additional Fees £171
Total Fine £271

The Appeal Process

Scott used JustAnswer, online legal service to enhance his appeal. The trial of this cost him just £5.

Total Fine £271
Cost of legal advice £5

JustAnswer helped Scott craft the best appeal possible and he was able to win his case.

Scott’s fine was cancelled and he only paid £5 for the legal help.

Get legal help

In partnership with Just Answer.

Can children be penalized?

The adult who is driving is responsible for all children under 14 who are not wearing a seat belt, and the fine can be up to £500. Following these two important legal requirements should mean that you avoid a seat belt fine when you have children in the vehicle:

  • Children who are 12 or 13 and taller than 135cm must be in their seats in the vehicle and wearing a seatbelt.
  • Until children reach 135cm or their 12th birthday (whichever is soonest), they must be in the proper car seat.

How much is a Seat Belt Fine in the UK?

The initial seat belt fine is £100. If you go to court and are found guilty, this figure will rise to £500. 

Do you get points for not wearing them?

Currently, you don’t get points for no seat belts in England and Scotland, but there is discussion in the UK government to add 3 points to the licence of those who are found driving without a seat belt.

However, these driving licence penalty points are already in action in Northern Ireland

Who is responsible for seat belts in the vehicle UK?

In almost all cases, the driver is responsible for people not wearing seat belts in the car. Once a passenger is over 14 years of age, however, they become responsible

Can I get a fine for a pet?

The driver is responsible for all pets in the car that are not secure. The highway code states that all animals must be suitably restrained. Dog guards, animal carriers, dog cages and a seat belt harness are the best way to do this. 

You can be fined for driving with unrestrained pets in the vehicle, and the amount will vary based on the circumstances. The fine can be as much as £5000 for a more serious offence, such as driving dangerously due to having an unrestrained pet in the vehicle.

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

What happens if I ignore the fine?

Never ignore any Fixed Penalty Notice, as it can be escalated, and further charges and actions can be added on top, including court action and bailiff action. Within your FPN, you will be able to see the offence that the FPN is being received for and the information you need to pay or appeal. 

The way I see it, the legal implications of unpaid fines are not worth facing, so pay your seat belt fine straight away unless you choose to appeal.

Can I take a seat belt course instead of paying a seat belt fine UK?

You may be offered the opportunity to take a seat belt course rather than the fine. A seat belt awareness course will cost £52.80; the course includes a test that must be passed within 28 days of the seat belt offence

The course takes 30 minutes to complete

Those who do not pass the test will be issued the original £100 fine, and there will be no refunds for the course

What type of fine is it?

A seat belt fine is a £100 non-endorsable Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). This means that you will (currently) not receive points on your licence. A non-endorsable FPN is also issued for driving with no MOT, failing to adhere to some signage, and parking offences. 

Will my car insurance be affected if I get a seat belt fine?

You don’t receive penalty points on your licence if you receive a seat belt fine in England and Scotland. This means that your car insurance won’t currently be affected.

However, there is currently discussion happening in UK government to add 3 points to the licence of those found driving without a seat belt in England and Scotland, which would mean that a seat belt fine would also give you penalty points and consequently affect your insurance premiums.

These penalty points are already in action in Northern Ireland, meaning a fine could affect your insurance.

seat belt fpn

Here you can see this forum user on MoneySavingExpert has received an FPN for not wearing a seat belt and can choose to do a seat belt course. They want to know whether the FPN will affect future insurance applications.

Getting the support of a Solicitor can take a huge weight off your mind.

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How can I appeal?

An FPN is an offer to discharge prosecution; what that means is instead of getting prosecuted for the offence, you can pay the fine. For non-endorsable offences like not wearing a seat belt, you won’t be required to hand over your licence. 

There is no formal way to appeal against an FPN. However, if you disagree with the fine, you can request that it goes to court instead. In the case of a seat belt fine, your fine will increase if you are found guilty.

If you intend to challenge the fine, it is essential that you seek legal advice

How can I pay the fine?

You can pay your seat belt fine online, or details will be in the letter you received. 

What if I can’t afford to pay? 

If you cannot afford to pay your Fixed Penalty Fine, some financial hardship options may be available to you. Here are a couple of things you can do:

  • Contact the court and ask to pay at a later date
  • Ask to pay in instalments 
  • If you are already playing in instalments, ask for those to be reduced
  • In some cases where the fine cannot be paid, it may be cancelled.

Don’t leave this until the last minute, as it is better to have confirmation and a payment plan in place before the end of the 28 days. 

For more information, check out: I Can’t Afford to Pay my Fixed Penalty Notice – Things You Can Do. 

Should I pay or appeal my seat belt fine?

The decision to pay or appeal your seat belt fine will be based on your personal circumstance, and you should weigh up the pros and cons of appealing. Often people find it more beneficial to explore the options to take the seat belt safety course where available.

Hire a Parking Solicitor for less than a coffee.

If you’re thinking about appealing your parking ticket then getting some professional advice is a good idea.

Getting the support of a Solicitor can make your appeal much more likely to win.

For a £5 trial, Solicitors from JustAnswer can look at your case and help you create an airtight appeal.

Try it below

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The authors
Scott Nelson MoneyNerd
Scott Nelson is a renowned debt expert who supports people in debt with debt management and debt solution resources.
Janine Marsh MoneyNerd
Appeals Expert
Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.