It’s 30 years to the day that the wearing of front seatbelts became compulsory in Britain. If you were caught without one, and didn't have a valid reason, you faced a maximum fine of £50, although in the early days it was more normal for a £10 punishment to be issued.
The issue of Autocar dated 29 January 1983 looked at the topic in detail, and declared that ‘commonsense had prevailed’ when it came to the new law.
However, the article also noted that as much as one third of drivers had an objection to belting up, with many disagreeing with the concept of being compelled to use them.
The article features comments from motorists which, with the benefit of three decades of hindsight, offer fascinating insights into attitudes towards driving in 1983.
“I don’t like them at all, and I never wear them. I don’t know what I’m going to do at the end of January. Most probably I’ll try to wear them – I don’t want a £50 fine. But they make me very restless and when I’m wearing one I keep thinking about that flaming belt instead of concentrating on driving. That can’t be safe.” Mrs Doris Chitty, Banstead
“I actually put it on going home last night. I always wear them on a long journey, but never on a short one. I expect I’ll wear them when the law comes in.” Graham Luckhurst, Marks Tey