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SEATBELT RULES: Rishi Sunak fined, but what are the seatbelt rules in taxis and PHV’s?

Updated: Jan 23, 2023



Rishi Sunak became only the second sitting Prime Minister to be fined by the police after Lancashire Constabulary handed him a fixed penalty notice for not wearing a seatbelt.


The police force released a statement on Friday saying they were fining the Prime Minister after earlier posting a film of himself on Instagram, travelling in the rear seats of a car without his seatbelt on.

A Lancashire Constabulary spokesperson said: “You will be aware that a video has been circulating on social media showing an individual failing to wear a seatbelt while a passenger in a moving car in Lancashire.


“After looking into this matter, we have today issued a 42-year-old man from London with a conditional offer of fixed penalty.”


A Government spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister fully accepts this was a mistake and has apologised. He will of course comply with the fixed penalty.”

What are the rules around wearing a seatbelt in chauffeur or taxi driven cars?

The rules on when and how to use seatbelts for drivers, adult passengers and children in taxis and minicabs can be confusing.

The rules for a taxi or minicab driver means they are exempt from wearing seatbelts under the following circumstances (reg. 6 The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) Regulations 1993):

  • a licensed taxi while it is being used for seeking hire, or answering a call for hire, or carrying a passenger for hire, or

  • a private hire vehicle while it is being used to carry a passenger for hire.


Most importantly this exemption does NOT apply to passengers who are required to wear seatbelts. Any person over the age of 14 MUST wear a seatbelt to avoid committing a criminal offence.


In taxis and minicabs, the driver is unlikely to be able to provide the correct child car seat required in privately owned vehicles. Children can therefore travel without one - but only if they travel on a rear seat:

  • and wear an adult seatbelt if they’re 3 or older

  • without a seatbelt if they’re under 3.

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