About driver responsibility

Safety belts and child restraints

Safety belts and child restraints protect people by holding them in their seats when there is a crash or when the vehicle stops suddenly. If you don’t wear a safety belt and you’re involved in a crash, you could be thrown out of your vehicle.

Not all heavy vehicles are required to be fitted with safety belts. However, if your vehicle does have safety belts, you must use them.

Always remember to fasten your safety belt before you drive off.

See About your vehicle for more information about the legal requirements for safety belts in your vehicle.

Responsibility

As the driver you are responsible for making sure passengers under the age of 15 are using an approved child restraint or safety belt.

  • Children under seven must be correctly secured in an approved child restraint.
  • Children aged seven must use an approved  child restraint (if one is available) and if not, any child restraint or safety belt that is available.
  • Children aged eight to 14 must wear a safety belt.

The safety belt must be worn correctly and kept securely fastened while the vehicle is in motion on the road.

Passengers 15 years and over are responsible for making sure that they wear their own safety belts correctly and that they keep them fastened while the vehicle is in motion.

Bus drivers in vehicles with passenger safety belts are not responsible for ensuring passengers wear them except passengers under the age of 15 sitting in a front seat alongside the driver.

Special exemptions

You don’t have to wear a safety belt if you:

  • hold a doctor’s certificate that says you don’t have to wear a safety belt for medical reasons
  • are driving and you’re unable to reach the controls (for example, brake, signals, dip switch) with a safety belt on
  • are a taxi driver plying for hire (your passengers, however, must wear safety belts)
  • are a driver or passenger who is getting in and out of the vehicle often to read meters, deliver goods, etc. In these situations you must not travel faster than 50km/h
  • are reversing and it is difficult to see while wearing a safety belt.

Child restraints

Under sevens

Children under seven years old must be correctly secured in an approved child restraint.

The only exceptions to this rule are where the child is travelling in a taxi that doesn’t have an approved child restraint, travelling in a bus or has a medical certificate exemption. In these situations, the child must sit in a back seat.

Children aged seven

Children aged seven years old must use an approved child restraint if available and if not, any child restraint or safety belt that is available.

If no child restraint or safety belt is available, they must sit in the back seat.

For more information about child restraints click here.

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Last updated: 23 July 2014