Seat belts must be worn by all occupants of a motor vehicle when it is in motion or is stationary but not parked. A person must not occupy a seat without a seat belt if other seats with seat belts are unoccupied.

How do seats belts work?

Seat belts:

  • Prevent ejection from the vehicle.
  • Reduces contact with the interior of your car.
  • Decrease the time for an occupant to stop on impact.
  • Spread the impact force by spreading it over a larger area of your body.

What should you do?

As the driver of the vehicle:

  • make sure your seat belt is correctly fastened and adjusted.
  • ensure passengers seat belts are correctly fastened and adjusted.
  • check that children are correctly restrained.

If you are a passenger:

  • make sure your seat belt is correctly fastened and adjusted.
  • encourage all occupants of the vehicle to 'buckle up'.

Driver offences

Drivers commit an offence if they fail to wear a seat belt when one is available.

Drivers also commit an offence if young passengers are not waring a seat belt or child restraint as detailed below:

For passengers 12 months old and under 16 years old:

  • must wear a seat belt (or child restraint) if one is available:
  • must wear a seat belt before any passenger aged 16 or over.

For children under 12 months old:

  • must occupy a child restraint suitable for the child's weight (eg baby capsule).

When sitting in the front of a vehicle:

  • in all vehicles with more than one row of seats, passengers under 16 years may only sit in the front row of seats if they are wearing a seat belt or child restraint.

Passenger offences

Passengers aged 16 years old or older commit an offence in any moving motor vehicle if they:

  • do not wear the seat belt when a seat belt is available:
  • sit in the front row of seats if there is no seat belt available, unless

    - the vehicle has only one row of seats, or

    - there is no seat available in another row.

Myths of wearing seat belts

There are many untrue statements about wearing or not wearing seat belts.

Some of theses beliefs are:

I'm only going a short distance, so I don't have to wear one.
This is wrong. You must buckle up for any trip, be it short or long. Many crashes happen within a 10 km radius of the driver's home.

I am not a fast driver so I don't need to wear a seat belt.
Wrong. If you have an accident at 40 km/h it has the same impact as a fall from a two storey building onto concrete.

Being a passenger in the back seat I don't need to wear a seat belt.
Wrong again. Statistics and research show that if you are not wearing a seat belt, you are not safer in the back seat.

I'm not responsible for my passenger not wearing a seat belt.
This is false. An unrestrained passenger becomes a lethal weapon in a crash, and is capable of killing or seriously injuring other occupants of the vehicle.

A pregnant woman doesn't have to wear a seat belt.
This is wrong. A seat belt correctly worn will protect both the mother and unborn child. If a pregnant women has a certificate signed by a doctor providing medical reasons for not using a seat belt then she can travel without using one.