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The law on seatbelts and child restraints

10 Feb 2017

Failure to wear a seatbelt is one of the leading causes of death of victims involved in car crashes.  Wearing a properly adjusted seatbelt reduces the risk of fatal or serious injury by up to 50%.

In Queensland, approximately 50 people die each year and more than 250 are hospitalised from road crashes as a result of not wearing a seatbelt.

Unrestrained passengers can potentially kill other vehicle occupants on impact.  Studies show that drivers and front-seat passengers are at a 5 times greater risk of dying in a car crash if the rear passengers are not wearing seatbelts.  This is particularly the case in head-on collisions.

Child restraints

One third of children admitted to hospital due to car crash injuries were not properly secured in a child restraint at the time of the crash.

Since March 2010 all children up to 7 years of age must be secured in a child restraint.  The child restraint must comply with the Australian Standard.

The following is a minimum requirement for children travelling in a car in Queensland:-

• Age:  Birth – 6 months
           Must travel in rearward facing child restraint or baby capsule, fitted with an approved 6 point safety harness.  The restraint must be tethered to the vehicle.

• Age:  6 months – 1 year
           Must travel in a child restraint, fitted with an approved 6 point safety harness.  The restraint may be fitted rearward facing or forward facing.  The restraint must be tethered to            the vehicle.

           It is recommended that babies and infants remain in a rearward facing position for as long as possible – until they outgrow the restraint.

• Age:  6 months – 4 years
           Must travel in a child restraint, fitted with an approved 6 point safety harness.  The restraint must be tethered to the vehicle.

• Age:  4 – 7 years
           Must travel in an approved booster seat with an adult seatbelt or H-harness until they outgrow the booster by height or weight.  The booster must be tethered to the vehicle.

The law about seatbelts

Everyone who travels in a car in Queensland must wear a seatbelt (unless they have a legal exemption).  The driver of the car is responsible for the proper restraint of all passengers under 16 years of age.  Children under 7 years must use a child restraint suitable for their age.

A bus driver is not responsible for ensuring passengers on the bus are wearing seatbelts.

Taxi drivers are not required to wear a seatbelt while there are passengers in the car.  This exemption does not extend to Uber drivers.

Penalties

If you are over 16 years of age and you are caught not wearing a seatbelt (as a driver or a passenger in a car), you may be fined $365 and incur 3 demerit points.

If a child is not riding in an approved child restraint suitable for their age which is properly fastened and adjusted, the driver can be fined $365 and incur 3 demerit points for each child that is not properly restrained.  Double demerit points will apply for second or subsequent child restrain or seatbelt offences committed within 1 year of the earlier offence.