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SEAT BELTS: Do all the passengers and the driver need to buckle up when they ride in a taxi?

Do passengers and taxi drivers need to buckle up when they ride in a taxi? In this article we will explain the law regarding seat belts for cabbies and passengers, and the fines for not wearing them.

According to UK law, a seat belt is required by law for drivers and passengers aged 14 and older in cars, vans, and other commercial vehicles. Drivers are responsible for ensuring children under 14 wear seat belts or use the right child restraint. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

One of them is for licensed taxi drivers who are ‘plying for hire’ or carrying passengers. British law forbids all licensed taxi drivers from wearing a seat belt if they are carrying any passengers. This is because they may need to exit the vehicle quickly in case of an emergency or a threat.

Taxi passengers, on the other hand, are not exempt from wearing a seat belt. They must wear a seat belt if one is available, unless they have a medical reason not to. Passengers aged 14 and over are responsible for wearing a seat belt themselves. If they fail to do so, they can be fined £100 on the spot by the police. The fine can increase to £500 if the case goes to court.

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 seat belt if they’re 3 or older

  • without a seat belt if they’re under 3.

So, next time passengers hop in your taxi, remember it's passengers that must buckle up for their safety to avoid a fine, whilst the driver doesn't have to wear one - it's the law!


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