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WEARING OF SEAT BELTS
AND CHILD RESTRAINTS -

Amended Legislation from 18 September 2006

With effect from 18 September 2006, the Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) Regulations 1993 and associated legislation will include particular requirements, and exemptions, relating to both adults and children wearing seat belts and/or appropriate restraints. The following is a summary of the new rules as they relate to passengers in taxis and private hire vehicles.

The regulations state that if a child is under 12 years old and under 1.35m [4ft 5ins] in height (a small child) they must either be in a child restraint appropriate for the weight and height of the child with that restraint marked as complying with the relevant British or European Standard, or in a child restraint that would be legal for that child in another EU member state.
If the child is 12 or 13 years old or over 1.35m in height (a large child) they must either be in a child restraint appropriate for the weight and height of the child with that restraint marked as complying with the relevant British or European Standard, or use an adult seat belt.
However, taxis and private hire vehicles are not required to provide child restraints and there are qualified exemptions allowing children to travel unrestrained in those vehicles.
Taxis and private hire vehicles with a fixed partition between the driver and passenger compartments
Children may travel unrestrained if no appropriate restraint is provided in the passenger compartment. Where an appropriate restraint is available, this should be used.
Private hire vehicles without a partition between the driver and passenger compartments
Child passengers aged under 3 years of age

Front seat – an appropriate child restraint must be used. No rear facing child restraint can be used in the front seat if the vehicle is fitted with a front passenger air bag unless it has been deactivated (or is designed or adapted so it cannot inflate in a way that poses a risk to a child in a rear facing child seat).
Rear seat - an appropriate child restraint must be used if available but a child may travel unrestrained if an appropriate restraint is not available.
Responsibility for compliance rests with the driver.
Child passengers aged 3 to 11 and under 1.35 metres [4ft 5ins] in height
Front seat - an appropriate child restraint must be used.
Rear seat - an appropriate child restraint must be used if available where seat belts are fitted. In addition, a child must use an adult belt if:
the appropriate child restraint is not available
two occupied child restraints prevent the fitting of a third.
Responsibility for compliance rests with the driver.
Child passengers aged 12 or 13, or over 1.35 metres [4ft 5 ins] in height
Front seat - appropriate child restraint or adult seat belt must be used
Rear seat - if a seat belt is fitted the child must use either an appropriate child restraint or an adult seat belt
Responsibility for compliance rests with the driver.
Adult passengers
Front seats - adult seat belt must be worn if fitted
Rear seats - adult seat belt must be worn if fitted
Responsibility for compliance rests with the passenger.
Drivers
The driver of a licensed taxi is required to wear a seatbelt when not plying for hire, answering a call for hire or carrying passengers.
The driver of a licensed private hire vehicle is required to wear a seatbelt when not carrying passengers for hire.
Responsibility for compliance rests with the driver
The legislation
The information contained within this notice does not present the full requirements of this complex legislation but attempts to focus on the elements relevant to the taxi and private hire trade.
The legislation that this notice relates to is:
Sections 14 – 15B of the Road Traffic Act 1998;
The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) Regulations 1993, as amended; and,
The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts by Children in Front Seats) Regulations 1993, as amended.

Further information on the new regulations may be found on the following website:
 www.thinkroadsafety.govuk/campaigns/childcarseats/childcarseats.htm

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