As a driver, you are expected to take responsibility for your passengers; from making sure that you stick to the correct number of passengers for your car, to ensuring that all passengers are wearing seatbelts. Failing to take responsibility for your passengers can land you in hot water with the law.
Number of Passengers
It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that the number of passengers in the car does not exceed the maximum. The maximum number of passengers is determined by the number of seatbelts in the car.
As a driver, you are legally obliged to ensure that any passengers aged under fourteen in your car wear seatbelts. For children under the age of three, you need to make sure that they are adequately restrained in a child restraint (such as a booster seat, child seat, baby carrier or baby harness that carries an BS kitemark or a UN "E" mark, and is suitable for the child's weight), especially in the front seat.
Do not use a child seat that faces backwards in the front seat, if you have front airbags in your car as there is a risk of being crushed or suffocated.
Children over the age of three should also be adequately restrained in the front and back seats in a child restraint until they reach 4 foot 5 inches or turn twelve.
For children aged over twelve or above 4 foot 5 inches, adult seatbelts should be worn.
The Legal Position
It is considered an offence for a driver to allow front or rear seat passengers to travel without a seatbelt if there is one available to wear.
If you are convicted of driving without a seatbelt, you can be fined up to £500. If you accept a fixed penalty notice, you will usually be fined £60. If you don't accept this, you can be taken to court and fined £500.
If you are convicted of failing to ensure that a child is adequately restrained (in either a seatbelt or a child restraint) according to the legal guidelines, you can also be fined up to £500. You will not currently be given penalty points on your driving license for seatbelt offences.
Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article last updated March 2016.