Taxi drivers and all other motorists are urged to BELT UP as the annual crackdown on seatbelt use begins this week.
Officers across the country will be out in force looking for anyone who is not strapped in to support the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) annual seatbelt operation.
The campaign, which runs until Sunday June 26, aims to raise awareness of the dangers of not wearing seat belts while driving, which can increase the risk of being involved in a fatal or serious collision.
There have long been seatbelt exemptions for taxi drivers with passengers on board, but choosing not to wear one increases your risk.
Not wearing a seatbelt is a top contributor and one of four fatal driving offences, alongside alcohol and drugs, speeding and using a phone laptop while driving.
Over the past six years, the proportion of car occupants killed who were not wearing a seatbelt has consistently remained above 20%, with 16-25 year olds being the most represented age group.
Research has also shown that 25.8% of all deceased males were not wearing a seat belt, compared to 14.8% of females. While other unbelted deaths or serious injuries occurred between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Anyone caught not wearing a seatbelt can take an online training course or face a fixed £100 fine. If they choose to go to court, the fine increases to a maximum of £500.
What are the rules for taxi drivers and their passengers?
The rules on when and how to use seat belts for taxi drivers, adult passengers and children in taxis and minicabs can be confusing.
Stephen McCaffreya regulatory defense attorney who specializes in taxi and private hire licensing, appeals and defense law, says seat belt laws differ for all passengers in a taxi compared to private vehicles.
The rules for taxi or minicab drivers mean that they are exempt from wearing seat belts in the following circumstances (reg. 6 The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) Regulations 1993):
a licensed taxicab while being used to seek hire, or answer a hire call, or carry a passenger for hire, or
a private rental vehicle while being used to carry a passenger for rental.
More importantly, this exemption does NOT apply to passengers who must wear their seatbelts. Anyone over the age of 14 MUST wear a seat belt 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 private vehicles. Children can therefore travel without – but only if they are traveling in a rear seat: