Seat belts in Europe

Country
Found: 31
CountrySeat belts
Austria

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.

Seat belts are not compulsory for:

  • drivers while reversing or parking
  • people whose shape prevents them from using seat belts
  • drivers of emergency or official vehicles
  • taxi driver on duty
  • regular services below 100 km
  • seriously physically disabled children, if transported in the back seat
  • children transported in ambulances or public safety vehicles, if sitting in the back seat.
  • children transported in taxis, if sitting in the back seat
Belgium

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.

Seats belts are not compulsory for:

  • drivers when reversing
  • taxi drivers when transporting a client
  • drivers and passengers of priority vehicles under certain conditions
  • people exempt for medical reasons
  • postal vehicles making frequent stops

Child seats are not compulsory for:

  • children under 18 and shorter than 135 cm in buses and taxis sitting on the back seat
  • children at least 3 years old and shorter than 135 cm wearing seat belts in the back seat during short-term occasional transport in cars and vans.
Bulgaria

The use of seat belts and child restraint systems is MANDATORY (Directive 91/671/EEC as amended).

The use of seat belts is not compulsory for:

  • pregnant women;
  • persons whose physical status does not allow the use of safety belt;
  • taxi drivers when transporting passengers;
  • driving school instructors when driving a car for training purpose.
Croatia The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.
People may be exempt for medical reasons.
Cyprus The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.
Czech Republic

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.

Exemptions for:

  • drivers while reversing
  • people exempt for medical reasons
  • drivers of emergency or authority vehicles, on duty
Denmark

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.

Seatbelts are not compulsory for:

  • drivers when reversing or driving in a parking area, or similar places
  • drivers and passengers with a disability
  • people exempt for medical reasons
  • drivers when transporting a client
  • drivers and passengers of priority vehicles, including ambulances
  • delivery vehicles or private cars making frequent stops (every 500m or less)
  • police and special services transporting detainees
  • drivers of defence forces when driving at low speed in exercise areas
  • regular transport services where standing passengers are allowed

Child seats are not compulsory for:

  • children under 3 traveling in the back seat of a taxi
  • children over 3 in the back seat of a taxi, using a seat belt
  • children over 3 in occasional transport by car in the back seat
  • vehicles where there is no space for a third child seat and the child sits in the back seat wearing a seat belt
Estonia

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.

Exemptions for:

  • children over 3, in taxis
  • driving on ice roads (roads created on frozen sea, river or lake)
  • delivery vehicles making frequent stops (every 100m or less)
Finland

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.

Exemptions for:

  • taxi drivers,
  • authorities like police and border control
  • delivery vehicles making frequent stops (every 100m or less)
France

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.

Exemptions for:

  • people whose shape prevents them from using seat belts
  • people exempt for medical reasons
  • taxi drivers on duty
  • priority vehicles
  • public service vehicles making frequent stops
  • delivery businesses making frequent stops
Germany

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.

Seat belts are not compulsory for:

  • drivers of taxis or hired passenger cars, on duty
  • delivery vehicles making frequent stops
  • driving at walking pace
  • transport services where standing passengers are allowed
  • operational staff on coaches and buses
  • passengers on buses and coaches who briefly leave their seats

Child seats are not compulsory for:

  • transport services where standing passengers are allowed
  • vehicles where there is no space for a third child seat and the child (over 3) sits in the back seat wearing a seat belt
  • disabled children may be secured with special belts.
Greece

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.

Exemptions for:

  • taxi drivers
  • drivers of postal delivery vehicles
  • drivers of catering vehicles
  • pregnant women
Hungary

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY

Seat belts are not compulsory for:

  • drivers when reversing
  • taxi drivers on duty
  • patients in an ambulance
  • passengers on public transport in urban areas
  • passengers in long-distance buses with places for standing passengers
  • children under 3 in buses
  • people exempt for medical reasons

Child seats are compulsory for children under 3 and shorter than 150 cm

Child seats are not compulsory for:

  • children over 3 and taller than 135 cm, if the car's normal seat belt fits for their size
  • children travelling in a taxi, ambulance, police car or bus that is allowed to transport standing passengers
  • children exempt for medical reasons
Ireland

The use of seat belts and child restraint systems is MANDATORY

The use of seat belts is not compulsory for:

  • People who wear a disabled person's belt;
  • People whose doctor have certified that, on medical grounds, they should not wear a safety belt;
  • Driving instructors or driver testers during a lesson or a test;
  • Police (Gardaí) and members of the Defence Forces on duty;

The only exemptions to restraining a child in an appropriate child restraint are:

  • Children under 150cm or 36kgs travelling in a taxi.
Italy The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.
Latvia The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.
Liechtenstein

The use of seat belts and child restraint systems is MANDATORY.

Seat belts are not compulsory for:

  • passengers with a specific medical certificate
  • delivery vehicles which do not drive faster than 25km/h
  • any vehicle which is driving at walking pace
  • staff and passengers in public transport (e.g. buses, coaches)
  • accompanying persons, in ambulances and cars for disabled people

Child restraint systems are not compulsory for children above the age of 14 and taller than 1.5 m

Lithuania

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.

Exemptions for:

  • people exempt for medical reasons
  • drivers reversing or driving in a parking area.
Luxembourg

The use of seat belts and child restraint systems is MANDATORY (Directive 91/671/EEC as amended).

The use of seat belts is not compulsory for:

  • drivers and passengers of motor vehicles providing door-to-door services in municipal areas that require repeated exit and entering of vehicles;
  • persons with an exemption certificate for serious medical reasons issued by the Ministry of Transport;
  • drivers when moving a vehicle backwards;
  • police members whose job prevents the use of safety belt systems for security reasons;
  • fireman brigades whose job prevents the use of safety belt systems for security reasons;
  • handicapped persons with reduced mobility, using wheel chairs or especially adapted seats;
  • accompanying personnel in buses and coaches who are in charge of assisting or supervising passengers;
  • passengers of buses and coaches who use their seats temporally.

Commission Decision C(2007) 2362 final 7 June 2007

Malta

The use of seat belts and child restraint systems is MANDATORY (Directive 91/671/EEC as amended). The use of seat belts is not compulsory for the following persons:

  • the driver of or a passenger in a motor vehicle constructed or adapted for the delivery or collection of goods or mail when carrying out local rounds of deliveries or collections
  • driver reversing or manoeuvring the motor vehicle for a short distance in a limited space
  • qualified driver and supervising the holder of provisional learning licence when the holder is performing any manoeuvre mentioned in the previous point
  • driver in possession of a certificate of medical exemption
  • member of the Police Force or of the Prison Service while protecting or escorting persons
  • driver in the service of a fire brigade and wearing operational clothing or equipment
  • medical officer or an attendant whilst attending to patients travelling in any ambulance
  • driver conducting a driving competence test
  • disabled person who is wearing a disabled person's belt or a disabled person who is unable to use a standard belt
  • driver of a licensed taxi or car for hire while carrying passengers for hire
Netherlands

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.

Exemptions for:

  • transport services where standing passengers are allowed
  • people using a wheel chair
Norway

Exemptions for mandatory use:

  • Medical reasons (with an official medical certificate)
  • Vehicles making frequent stops (e.g. mail services in towns, vehicles carrying out deliveries)
  • Reverse driving
  • Driving in non-public areas (parking, garages, yards etc)
Poland

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY

Seat belts are not compulsory for:

  • people exempt for medical reasons
  • pregnant women
  • taxi drivers while driving with passengers
  • instructor or examiners during training or driving tests
  • police and other special services transporting detainees
  • officers of the Government Protection Bureau on duty
  • patients and ambulance teams on duty
  • escorts transporting money
  • cars originally not equipped with seat belts.

Child seats are not compulsory in:

  • taxis
  • buses
  • ambulances
  • police cars
  • border guard cars
Portugal

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.

Exemptions for:

  • coaches and buses where standing passengers are allowed.
Romania

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.

Exemptions for:

  • taxi drivers when transporting clients
  • pregnant woman
  • people exempt for medical reasons
Slovakia

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.

Seat belts are not compulsory for:

  • priority vehicles on duty
  • driving instructors on duty
  • people shorter than 150 cm
  • taxi drivers on duty
  • people exempt for medical reasons

Child seats are not compulsory:

  • in cars that have already two child seats installed - a 3rd child, under 3 and shorter than 150 cm, can be attached with a safety belt in the back seat.
  • children over 3 can use the seat belts in the back seat if the vehicle has no child seat.
Slovenia The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY
People may be exempt for medical reasons
Spain

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.

Seat belts are not compulsory for:

  • drivers while reversing or parking
  • disabled people
  • people exempt for medical reasons
  • taxi drivers driving in urban areas
  • taxi passengers shorter than 135 cm on the back seat travelling in urban areas
  • delivery workers loading or unloading a vehicle
  • drivers and passengers of emergency vehicles on duty
  • driving instructors on duty
Sweden

The use of seat belts and child seats is MANDATORY.

Exemptions for:

  • children over 3 and shorter than 135 cm travelling in buses
  • children under 3 on temporary short distance travel by taxi sitting in the back seat
  • children over 3 and shorter than 135 cm on temporary short distance travel wearing a seat belt in the back seat.
Switzerland

The use of seat belts and child restraint systems is mandatory. Child restraint systems are not compulsory for children above the age of 12 and taller than 1,50 m

Seats belts are not compulsory for:

  1. passengers with specific medical certificate; for journeys abroad passengers get a medical certificate by the local (cantonal) authorities according to Directive 91/671/EEC as amended
  2. delivery vehicles which do not drive faster than 25km/h
  3. driving at walking pace
  4. operational staff and passengers in public transport (e.g. buses, coaches, trams)
United Kingdom

The use of seat belts and child restraint systems is MANDATORY.

Exemptions for:

  • a driver who is reversing, or supervising a learner driver who is reversing;
  • in a vehicle being used for police, fire and rescue services;
  • a passenger in a trade vehicle who is investigating a mechanical fault;
  • driving a goods vehicle on deliveries that is travelling no more than 50 metres between stops;
  • a licensed taxi driver who is 'plying for hire' or carrying passengers.

Medical exemptions for seat belts

Your doctor may say you do not have to wear a seat belt for a medical reason. They will give you a 'Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Seat Belt Wearing'. You must:

  • keep this in your vehicle;
  • show it to the police if you're stopped.

You'll also need to tell your car insurer.

Vehicles without seat belts

For vehicles without seat belts AND originally made without seat belts (e.g. a classic car):
  • drivers are not allowed to carry children under 3;
  • children over 3 are only allowed to sit in the back seats.

Child restraint systems

  • Children under the age of 3 must use an appropriate child restraint system, whether travelling on the front or the rear seat.
    Exemption: a child under the age of 3 may travel unrestrained in a taxi if a child restraint is not available.
  • Children aged 3 or older and up to 135 cm in height or 12 years of age (whichever they reach first) must also use an appropriate child restraint system, whether travelling on the front or the rear seat.
    Exemptions: if travelling in the rear seat of:
    • a taxi OR
    • a motor vehicle, for a short distance and in an unexpected necessity OR
    • a motor vehicle where two occupied child restraints prevent fitting a third one (then they must use an adult seat belt if a child restraint is not available
  • Children aged 12 or 13 or over 135 cm in height must use an adult seat belt.
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Last update: 12/8/2015
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