Minibuses and coaches
If a minibus or coach was registered after 1 October 2001, it must be fitted with forward-facing or rear-facing seatbelts.
The rules are a bit more complex for minibuses or coaches registered before 1 October 2001. If the primary purpose of the journey is to transport three or more children, the vehicle must be fitted with forward-facing seats with a three-point or lap seatbelt for each child.
Minibuses: front seats
Passengers in the front seats, or any exposed seat, must use the seatbelts provided.
Similar to laws that apply to children in cars, it's the driver's responsibility to ensure:
- Children under three years old use the appropriate restraint (see ‘child car seats’ page)
- Children between three and eleven years old, under 1.5 meters tall, use an appropriate restraint if available or wear the seatbelt that's fitted
- Children aged between 12 and 13 years old (or younger but at least 1.5 meters tall) wear the seatbelt fitted
As with cars, adult passengers over 14 years old are responsible for wearing their seatbelt.
Small minibuses: rear seats
The same rules as above apply to passengers sitting in the rear of a small minibus with an unladen weight of 2,540kg or less.
Larger minibuses: rear seats
There's no law that requires passengers in the rear seats of large minibuses – those with an unladen weight of over 2,540kg – to wear seatbelts. However, the ROSPA strongly advises they're worn on all journeys.
All passengers sitting in seats that are in line with or in front of the driver (apart from those on an upper deck) must use fitted seatbelts.
Passengers in any other seats aren't required by law to wear a seatbelt, but it's strongly advised
Why don't normal public buses have seatbelts installed?
Passengers travelling on public fare-paying buses that are used wholly on 30mph roads are exempt from seatbelt legislation. This is because:
- Public buses used in urban areas tend to travel slowly and in dedicated bus lanes
- They travel over short distances with frequent stops
- The design of many urban buses makes it difficult to fit seatbelts
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