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SEATBELT RULES: Taxi and PHV seatbelt rules explained by Taxi Cop

Updated: Dec 29, 2023



PC Patrick Quinton, a respected Taxi Compliance Officer, has issued a detailed information sheet explaining the legalities surrounding seatbelt usage within licensed vehicles, drawing upon the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the subsequent Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) Regulations 1993.


In the document, Quinton outlines that Hackney Carriage drivers are exempt from the seatbelt mandate whilst engaged in hire-seeking, responding to a hire call, or when transporting a fare-paying passenger.

However, when not in service or undertaking Private Hire work outside the boundaries of their licensed area, these drivers must adhere to seatbelt laws.


For Private Hire Drivers, the exemption is also clear: they are not required to wear seatbelts while ferrying a pre-booked passenger, but at all other times, compliance is mandatory.


Regarding passengers, there is no requirement for Hackney Carriage taxis or Private Hire Vehicles (PHV) to carry child seats, so the following rules apply:


If the vehicle has a fixed partition screen between the front and rear seats, there is no requirement for children in the rear to use restraints.


All children must use a correct child restraint if in the front seat. If it’s a rear facing child restraint, the front airbag must be deactivated.


A child under 3 is exempt from using a child restraint on the rear seat if there is not one available, but remember they count as a passenger and must have their own seat.


A child aged 3 to 11 and under 135 cms in height must use an adult seat belt on the rear seat if there is no child restraint available.


A child aged 12 or 13, or any child over 135 cms in height, must wear an adult seat belt on the rear seat if no child restraint is available.


Anyone aged 14 and over must wear a seat belt

PC Quinton takes the opportunity to remind the licensed vehicle community that exemptions do not preclude the voluntary use of seatbelts.


Highlighting the stark difference that seatbelts can make in the outcome of an accident, he advocates for their use as a precautionary measure to ensure that all can return home safely.


Additionally, the information sheet notes that some individuals may hold a medical exemption, accompanied by a certificate, but these are the exception rather than the rule.


The penalty for neglecting to wear a seatbelt is a fine of £100, an enforcement approach chosen over the imposition of penalty points. Notably, adult passengers are responsible for their own compliance, while drivers are accountable for ensuring that any minors in their vehicle are correctly restrained.


The comprehensive briefing aims to shed light on the regulations, promoting awareness and encouraging a culture of safety within the taxi and private hire industry.

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