Exemption for taxis over child seats to stay despite penalty point offence

Sat, Aug 4, 2012, 01:00

TAXI DRIVERS will continue to be exempt from having to carry car seats for child passengers despite the introduction of new penalty-point offences.

It is now an offence, carrying between two and four penalty points, for a motorist to permit a child under three to travel in a car without appropriate restraint.

Motorists will also be subject to penalty points if children under 12 are not in an appropriate car seat.

The new penalty points offences were introduced at the start of this month to clamp down on motorists who persist in not using seatbelts.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport said legislation in relation to taxi drivers is governed by the European Commission’s (compulsory use of seatbelts and child restraint systems in motor vehicles) regulations 2006, which allows for exemptions.

The regulations for taxi drivers stipulate that an infant who is under three years of age can be carried on a back seat by an adult as long as that adult is wearing a seatbelt, usually around the child.

A child more than three years of age does not need to be in a car seat if travelling in a taxi, but they must wear a seatbelt and not be in the passenger seat.

Siptu taxi branch organiser Gerry Brennan said the new legislation appeared to have been “quite grey” but he was pleased that the issue had been clarified.

Mr Brennan said taxis were exempt because it was not practical for them to bring bulky car seats which would make it much more difficult to carry other luggage.