Wearing a seat belt and exemptions
The law states that a seat belt must be used if fitted unless you qualify for a medical exemption and have the certificate to prove it. For your own safety and that of others', you should know how to correctly use a seat belt, child restraint, car seat or booster seat.
The law - seat belts and child restraints
The law requires that drivers and passengers aged 14 and over in cars, vans and other commercial vehicles must wear a seatbelt, if available. As a driver you are responsible for ensuring that anyone under the age of 14 wears a seat belt or uses an appropriate child restraint as required by law.
On 27 February 2007, the law in Northern Ireland concerning children using seat belts and child restraints changed. Find out more about the new law and your responsibilities as a driver on the link below.
Correct use of seat belts and child restraints
Taking time to ensure you use a seat belt or fit a child restraint correctly could help save lives and reduce injuries in the event of an accident.
Wearing a seat belt on a minibus, bus or coach
If you are travelling on a minibus you must wear a seat belt if one is fitted (or a child restraint if available). On a bus or coach, if you are aged 14 or over you must wear a seat belt if fitted.
Regulations requiring children aged three to 13 years to use seat belts (or child restraints if available) in buses and coaches will be brought forward as soon as possible.
Exemptions from wearing a seat belt
You may be exempt from wearing a seat belt on medical grounds. Your doctor will issue a 'Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Seat Belt Wearing' if it's decided it's not suitable for you to wear a seat belt on medical grounds. This must be produced if the police ask you for it.
Wearing a seat belt while pregnant
You must wear a seat belt if you are pregnant unless your doctor certifies that you are exempt on medical grounds. Wearing your seat belt safely will help protect you and your unborn child.
You’ll need to take extra care adjusting your seat belt. You'll be safer and more comfortable if you wear the:
- diagonal strap between your breasts, moving it around the side of your bump
- lap strap as low as possible across your hips and under your bump – if it goes over your belly button, it's too high
If you’re driving and need to make room for your bump, don’t put your seat where you can’t reach the clutch, brake and accelerator. This could affect your reaction times when driving. Check your mirrors are still in the right place as you move the seat.