Seat belts & child restraints

A summary of the key road rules for wearing seat belts and child restraints.

Everyone travelling in a motor vehicle must be wearing a child restraint, booster seat or seat belt that is properly adjusted and fastened.

The type of restraint to use depends on the person’s age and size:

Drivers are responsible for making sure that:

  • all passengers are wearing seat belts or child restraints correctly 
  • there is only one person in each seating position and seat belt.

Penalties

The penalties if passengers are caught unrestrained or improperly restrained in a vehicle include:

  • fines and demerit points for the driver, and
  • fines for passengers aged 16 years and over.

The rules in detail

The Victorian road rules are published in Road Safety Road Rules 2009 (External link)

The key road rules and reference numbers for seatbelt wearing and child restraints are:

  • 264 - Wearing of seat belts by drivers 
  • 265 - Wearing of seat belts by passengers 16 years old, or older
  • 266 - Wearing of seat belts by passengers under 16 years old
  • 267 - Exemptions from wearing seat belts.

Children under the age of 4 years must only travel in the back seat of a vehicle.

Children aged 4 years old to under 7 years old can only sit in the front seat if all of the back seats are taken by other passengers under 7 years old. The child must travel in a booster seat without a top tether strap, because there will be no anchorage points for the front seat.

Children aged 7 years and over can travel in the front seat. However, research shows that children under 12 years are much safer travelling in the back seat.

When travelling in taxis:

  • taxi drivers are exempt from making sure all passengers over 16 are restrained
  • children aged under 1 year must travel in the back seat, but do not have to use a child restraint
  • children aged 1 year and over must be in their own seat, with their own properly fastened seat belt if there is no child restraint or booster seat available.

In Victoria, taxis do not have to provide child restraints or booster seats for customers. However, they must have at least one anchorage point if passengers want to bring their own child restraint.

If possible it is recommended that you take your child’s restraint or booster seat with you.

A ‘bus’ is defined as a motor vehicle which seats more than 12 adults (including the driver).

If the vehicle has fewer than 12 seats, including the driver, then any children under the age of 7 years must use an appropriate child restraint or booster seat.

If the bus has more than 12 seating positions, including the driver, the children are not required to use child restraints or booster seats.

VicRoads recommends that child restraints and booster seats are used in buses where possible. As a minimum the children should use the seat belts provided.

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