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Taxi drivers and other motorists urged to BELT UP as annual crackdown on seatbelt usage begins

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

Taxi drivers and all other motorists are being urged to BELT UP as the annual crackdown on seatbelt usage begins this week.

Officers from around the country will be out in force looking for anyone who isn’t belted up in support of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) annual seat belt operation.

The campaign, which runs until Sunday 26 June, aims to raise awareness of the dangers of not wearing a seat belt whilst driving, which can increase the chances of being involved in a fatal or serious collision.

There are some longstanding seatbelt exemptions for taxi drivers with passengers onboard, but choosing not to wear one increases your risks.

Not wearing a seat belt is one of the main contributors and is one of the fatal four driving offences alongside drink and drug driving, speeding, and using a mobile phone whilst behind the wheel.

In the last six years, the proportion of car occupants killed who were not wearing a seat belt has remained consistently above 20 per cent, with those aged 16-25 the most highly represented age group.

Research has also shown that 25.8 per cent of all males who died were not wearing a seat belt compared to 14.8 per cent of females. While more unbelted fatalities or serious injuries happened between 7pm and 7am.

Anyone caught not wearing a seat belt can take an online education course or receive a fixed penalty fine of £100. If they elect to go to court, the fine increases to a maximum £500.

What are the rules for taxi drivers and their passengers?

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

Stephen McCaffrey, a regulatory defence barrister who specialises in taxi and private hire licensing law, appeals and defence, states seatbelt laws differ for all the riders in a taxi compared to privately owned vehicles.

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 seat belt if they’re 3 or older

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


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