In this instalment of Ask An Expert, we answer the question:
What are the rules around seat belts and classic cars?
It's a common question we get asked at FJ, but the answer very much depends on the particular make, model and year of your classic.
Despite the three-point seat belt being introduced in 1959, cars were often made without seat belts as standard up until 1966 and instead were offered as an optional extra only. As a result, if you own a classic car and seat belts were not fitted as standard, then you have no legal obligation to have them fitted.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that if you have any passengers under 3 years old, they will not be able to legally travel in your vehicle without a seat belt.
Of course, while it may not be legally required, it may still be worth considering installing seat belts purely for safety reasons. In fact, the British Safety Council have estimated that seat belts save an average of 2,000 lives per year.
If you love to keep your classic as original as possible, perhaps lap belts rather than three-point seat belts could be an option? In fact, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents states that three-point seat belts are safer, but wearing a lap belt is far better than wearing no seat belt at all because the greatest risk of injury to car occupants in an accident comes from being thrown about inside the vehicle or being ejected from it.
Finally, don't forget that if a seat belt is fitted in your classic then by law you must wear it. If you don't when you're supposed to, then you could be fined up to £500.
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The information contained in this blog post is based on sources that we believe are reliable and should be understood as general information only. It is not intended to be taken as advice with respect to any specific or individual situation and cannot be relied upon as such.