When do I need to wear a seatbelt?


The basic rules for adults are that every person in a motor vehicle sitting in the front or rear passenger seats must wear a seat belt if provided and available.

As vehicle design has improved, the use of seat belts has resulted in a reduction in the number of people seriously injured or killed.

The type of belt and anchorage points, vary and some vehicles are exempt.

You are unlikely to find a vehicle not fitted with seat belts that are required to be fitted with them. Unlike items such as mirrors and silencers, seat belts tend not to be removed or fall off.

They are required to be in working order, the fastening free from obstruction (temporary or permanent) and the webbing free from cuts and fraying that would adversely affect its performance.


  • Delivery persons, engaged in deliveries (e.g. mail, newspapers) or collections persons reversing or supervising provisional licence holder while reversing (or a manoeuvre which includes reversing) 
  • Persons in vehicle being used for police purposes 
  • Any person engaged on the duties of a driver of a cab 
  • Persons in vehicle being used for fire service and airport fire service 
  • Persons holding an exemption medical certificate provided it is produced at the time or within seven days. (Includes Children) 
  • Conducting a driving test if wearing of the belt would be dangerous 
  • Vehicle driven under a trade licence for purpose of investigating or remedying mechanical fault 
  • Where the seat belt is an inertia type which is locked as a result of being, or having been, on a steep incline 
  • A disabled person wearing a disabled person’s belt (includes children)

Does my child have to wear a seatbelt?

There are different provisions for children. A ‘child’ means a person under the age of 14 years. However the law also differentiates between a small and large child.

‘Small child’ means a child who is: - aged under 12 years, and under 150 centimetres in height.
This applies for both front and rear seats.

If a child is under the age of 14 years the driver is responsible for ensuring that the seat belt is worn. If children are being carried in a car without wearing a seat belt the driver alone commits an offence.

It goes without saying that once the child reaches the age of 14 years they become liable in their own right.


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