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Seatbelts and child restraints

Seatbelts

The driver of a vehicle fitted with an approved seatbelt must wear it properly adjusted and fastened [see Australian Road Rules r 264].

A passenger (over the age of 16 years) of a vehicle must wear an approved seatbelt properly adjusted and fastened [r 265(1)].

The driver of a vehicle must also ensure that each passenger wears an approved seatbelt properly adjusted and fastened or is restrained in a suitable, properly fastened and adjusted approved child restraint as set out below [rr 265(3) and 266(1)].

Child restraints

Children less than six months old must be restrained in a suitable and properly fastened and adjusted rearward-facing approved child restraint [r 266(2)].

Children aged six months to four years must be restrained in a suitable and properly fastened and adjusted approved rearward-facing or forward-facing (with in-built harness) child restraint [r 266(2A)].

Children aged four to seven years must be restrained in either a suitable and properly fastened and adjusted approved forward-facing (with in-built harness) child restraint; a properly positioned approved booster seat with seat belt properly adjusted and fastened; or if seated in a part of the vehicle primarily designed for the carraige of goods, by lap and sash seatbelt properly fastened and adjusted or lap seatbelt properly fastened and adjusted and approved safety harness properly fastened and adjusted [r 266 (2B)].

There is an exemption from the requirements in subrules 266(2), 266(2A) and 266(2B) if the driver is carrying a medical certificate stating that the child not be restrained in the ways required by the subrules because of a medical condition or disability. The child must then be properly restrained in a child restraint that has been designed for a passenger or person with the same medical condition or disability as the child. The exemption will only apply if the driver immediately produces the medical certificate when requested by a police officer or authorised person [r 266(2D)].

Children over seven years must be restrained in a suitable and properly fastened and adjusted approved child restraint or wear an approved seatbelt that is properly adjusted and fastened [r 266(4)].

For more information about choosing a suitable approved child restraint see the South Australian Government's website (click here).

Position of children in the vehicle

Children under four years must not sit in a front seat of a vehicle which has back seats [r 266(3)].

Children aged over four but under seven years must not sit in a front seat of a vehicle which has back seats, unless all of the back seats are already taken by children also under the age of seven [r 266(3A)].

An exemption applies if the driver is carrying a medical certificate that states that the child should travel in the front row of the vehicle due to a medical condition. However, the exemption will only apply if the driver is able to immediately produce the medical certificate to a police officer or authorised person when requested [r 266(3B),(3C)].

Children traveling in public minibus or taxi

The driver of a public mini bus or taxi is exempt from ensuring that children are restrained in approved child restraints as per Australian Road Rules rr 266(2), (2A) and (2B) if there is none available 266(5)(a) and the child sits in a back seat [r 266(5)(b)]. However, the driver must ensure children aged over one year but under seven years wear an approved seatbelt [r 266(5A)].

Exemptions

There are a number of exemptions to the rules in relation to the wearing of seatbelts and child restraints in rule 267 of the Australian Road Rules. For example, seatbelts do not have to be worn by people if their doctor has issued a certificate (valid for up to one year) stating that they should not wear a seatbelt due to their medical condition. The person must have the letter with her or him, or an approved seatbelt must be worn [Australian Road Rules rr 267(3A) and (4)].

There is also an exemption for people in South Australia if their doctor has issued a certificate stating that they are not required to wear a setbelt (for a set period or indefinitely) due to a physical disability or any other medical ground [Road Traffic (Road Rules - Ancillary and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2014 (SA) reg 37(2)]. An exemption also exists for historic vehicles registered under section 25 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) and being driven in accordance with the conditions of that registration [Road Traffic (Road Rules - Ancillary and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2014 (SA) reg 37(1)].

Seatbelts and child restraints  :  Last Revised: Thu Dec 15th 2016
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