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MrADeveci

Seats Belts (incl. children)

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Cars

The law requires children travelling in cars to use an appropriate child restraint or adult seat belt, if they are available. Children cannot be carried in the front seat unless they are either in a child restraint or are using the seat belt. It is the driver's responsibility to ensure that children under the age of 14 years are either using an appropriate child restraint or an adult seat belt if available.

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Cars - Children under 3 years old

If carried in the front seat, an appropriate child restraint MUST be used (the adult seat belt is not sufficient). Children under 3 years old may not travel in the front unless they are in a child restraint.

If carried in the rear seat, an appropriate child restraint MUST be used, IF AVAILABLE.

If an appropriate restraint is fitted in the front of the car, but not the rear, children under 3 years old MUST sit in the front and use that restraint. Remember, you could move the restraint from the front to the rear if you wish. Rearward-facing seats are designed to be used in the rear as well as the front. You should always put a rearward-facing baby seat in the rear if is a front passenger airbag fitted.

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Cars - Children Aged 3 to 11 years and under 1.5 metres tall

If carried in the front seat, an appropriate child restraint MUST be worn IF AVAILABLE.

If not, an adult seat belt MUST be worn.

If carried in the rear seat, an appropriate child restraint MUST be worn IF AVAILABLE.

If not, an adult seat belt MUST be worn IF AVAILABLE.

If an appropriate restraint or seat belt is fitted in the front of the car, but not in the rear, children between 3 to 11 years old and under 1.5 metres tall MUST use that restraint or seat belt. (Remember, you could move the restraint from the front to the rear if you wish).

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Cars - Children Aged 12 or 13 years or younger children 1.5 metres or more in height

If carried in the front or rear seat, an adult seat belt MUST be worn IF AVAILABLE.

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Cars - Passengers Over 14 years old

If travelling in the front or rear seat, an adult seat belt MUST be worn IF AVAILABLE.

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Taxis and Private Hire Cars

The law is exactly the same as for children travelling in cars.

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Taxis and private hire cars - Children under 3 years old

If carried in the front seat, an appropriate child restraint MUST be used (the adult seat belt is not sufficient)

If carried in the rear seat, an appropriate child restraint MUST be used, IF AVAILABLE.

If an appropriate restraint is fitted in the front of the car, but not the rear, children under 3 years old MUST sit in the front and use that restraint. (Remember, you could move the restraint from the front to the rear if you wish, and you should do this if you are using a rearward-facing baby seat and there is a passenger airbag fitted).

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Taxis and private hire cars - Children Aged 3 to 11 years and under 1.5 metres tall

If carried in the front seat, an appropriate child restraint MUST be worn IF AVAILABLE.

If not, an adult seat belt MUST be worn.

If carried in the rear seat, an appropriate child restraint MUST be worn IF AVAILABLE.

If not, an adult seat belt MUST be worn IF AVAILABLE.

If an appropriate restraint or seat belt is fitted in the front of the car, but not in the rear, children between 3 to 11 years old and under 1.5 metres tall MUST use that restraint or seat belt. (Remember, you could move the restraint from the front to the rear if you wish).

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Taxis and private hire cars - Children Aged 12 or 13 years or younger children 1.5 metres or more in height

If carried in the front or rear seat, an adult seat belt MUST be worn IF AVAILABLE.

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Taxis and private hire cars - Passengers Over 14 years old

If carried in the front or rear seat, an adult seat belt MUST be worn IF AVAILABLE.

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Other Vehicles (vans, buses, coaches, minibuses and goods vehicles)

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Other Vehicles - Front Seats

The law requires children (and adults) travelling in the front of all vehicles, including vans, buses, coaches, minibuses and goods vehicles to use an appropriate child restraint or adult seat belt, if they are available. Children cannot be carried in the front seat of any vehicle that has seat belts fitted unless they are either in a child restraint or are using the seat belt.

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Other Vehicles - Rear Seats

All coaches and minibuses manufactured or first used on or after 1 October 2001 must be fitted with seat belts. In earlier vehicles, children (aged 3 to 15 years) on organised trips (including home to school travel) must be provided with seat belts and a forward-facing seat. (Buses used for public services, and which are designed to carry standing passengers, do not have seat belts fitted).

The law requires children travelling in the rear of small minibuses (with an unladen weight of 2,540 kgs or less) to wear seat belts or to use an appropriate child restraint, if available. It is the driver's responsibility to ensure that children under the age of 14 years are either using an appropriate child restraint or an adult seat belt if available.

The law presently does not require children to wear seat belts in the rear of larger minibuses or coaches. However, if seat belts are fitted they should be used. A seat belt can only protect the wearer if it is being worn.

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More Passengers than Seat Belts

The safest option is to only carry the same number of passengers as there are seat belts. If necessary, use two cars or make two journeys for the trip.

If you must carry a passenger for whom there is no seat belt, it is better for the heaviest passengers to wear a seat belt, because they would cause more severe injuries to other people in the car if they are thrown about in a crash.

Legal Penalties

If you are convicted of failing to wear a seat belt as a driver or passenger, you could face a fine of up to £1,000.

As a driver, if you are convicted of failing to ensure that a child passenger is using an appropriate child restraint or wearing a seat belt according to the legal requirements described above, you could face a fine of up to £1,000.

In addition to the legal penalties, failure to wear a seat belt or failure to ensure that a child passenger uses an appropriate child restraint or wears a seat belt according to the legal requirements described above, could affect any claims against your motor insurance cover.

You could also face civil proceedings for damages, if (for example) you failed to safely carry someone else's child.

In most cases, if you do not wear a seat belt you will receive a fixed penalty notice of £30.

If however you have 2 - 3 children in the back, who are all not wearing seat belts, this can also constitute to an offence of "Dangerous and Insecure Loads" - Which is a fixed penalty ticket of 3 points and a £60 fine !

But, of course, the most serious penalty of all could be that you or a passenger loses their life!

So buckle up !!

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