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New Car Seat Belt Safety Legislation will affect local motorists when driving in UK 14 August 2006

The Department of Transport wishes to advise Island motorists of a number of important changes to UK legislation concerning the use of child restraints in cars and goods vehicles, which are due to come in to effect on 18th September 2006.

Whilst these new laws are not yet applicable on the Isle of Man, people who are planning to travel to the UK and drive during their visit, should be fully aware of the new and revised laws and abide by them.

Children under three years must now use the correct restraint in the front and back seats of a car. If the car has an active airbag in the front passenger seat it is now illegal to use a rear-ward facing child restraint. Only a front facing child seat is considered safe due to the potential danger of these airbags. If travelling in a taxi or hire car and no restraint is available, then the child is allowed to travel unrestrained in the rear.

From a child’s third birthday until they reach 135 cm high and/or are twelve years of age, a correct child restraint is also required (where seatbelts are fitted). The child is excused from using the preferred child restraint in certain circumstances, when they must use an adult seat belt instead. There are three such situations and they are as follows: riding in a taxi or hired vehicle, journeys over a short distance for reason of unexpected necessity or if there are two child restraints already occupied and this prevents the fitment of a third.

Children over 1.35m or 12 to 13 years old, must wear an adult seat belt in the front or back passenger seats if available. Responsibility of ensuring that the correct child seat and or adult seat belts are securely fastened for any passenger under the age of 14 firmly rests with the driver of the car.

New UK Seatbelt Legislation – Summary Table

 Front SeatRear SeatWho is Responsible?
DriverSeat belt MUST be worn if available Driver
Child up to 3 years oldCorrect child restraint MUST be used.
Correct child restraint MUST be used
If one is not available in a taxi, then the child may travel unrestrained in the rear.
Driver
Child from 3rd birthday up to EITHER 1.35m in height, OR 12 years old Correct child restraint MUST be used.
Where seat belts fitted, correct child restraint MUST be used
MUST use adult belt if the correct child restraint is not available in three scenarios:
  • in a taxi;
  • for a short distance for reason of unexpected necessity;
  • two occupied child restraints prevent fitment of a third.
In addition, a child 3 and over may travel unrestrained in the rear seat of a vehicle if seat belts are not available.
Driver
Child over 1.35 metres, or 12 to 13 yearsSeat belt MUST be worn if availableSeat belt MUST be worn if availableDriver
Adult passengers (ie 14 years and over)Seat belt MUST be worn if availableSeat belt MUST be worn if availablePassenger

For further details visit – www.think.roadsafety.gov.uk

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