Seatbelts

An approved seatbelt or child restraint is the easiest way to stay safe in a vehicle.

Research shows that wearing a seatbelt doubles your chances of surviving a serious crash.

You and your passengers must wear a seatbelt or sit in a child restraint that has been appropriately fitted and fastened.

Passengers must not ride in the back of utes or vans unless an approved seatbelt is available.

If drivers don't follow these rules, you could face seatbelt offences and penalties. Passengers over the age of 16 could also be fined.

Pregnancy and seatbelts

If you're pregnant, you still must wear a seatbelt in a vehicle at all times.

You must place the:

  • lower part of the seatbelt over your upper thighs, across your hips and below your baby.
  • upper part of the seatbelt over your shoulder, between your breasts and above your baby.

Seatbelt buckle cover

A buckle cover is an accessory that goes over the top of a seatbelt buckle.

It stops a passenger from releasing their seatbelt while travelling.

Medical practitioners and health professionals, such as occupational therapists, prescribe them for children or adults with a disability or medical condition.

Seatbelt buckle covers can cause conflict with vehicle standards for seatbelts that requires 'easy release' of the seatbelt by the user.

Exemption

On 16 March 2022, an exemption was issued to allow seatbelt buckle covers to be used in certain cases.

The conditions of the exemption are:

  • the seatbelt must be fitted with a prescribed device
  • an 'advice to parents' form or medical certificate is in the vehicle
  • instructions for the prescribed device is in the vehicle
  • the passenger, to whom an 'advice to parents' form or medical certificate has been issued, is using the seatbelt with the prescribed device.

The exemption doesn't apply to a prescribed device fitted to a child restraint's seatbelt buckle.

How to apply for exemption

If you're a parent or carer wanting to use a seatbelt buckle cover, you must talk to a medical practitioner or health professional.

They will assess the needs of the child or adult, and where a seatbelt buckle cover is prescribed, they can issue a:

  • signed and completed 'advice to parent' form for children under 16 or
  • medical certificate for an adult passenger.

To find out more about the exemption, read the information sheet.

Exemption to use a seatbelt buckle cover information sheet PDF (577.7 KB)
Exemption to use a seatbelt buckle cover information sheet DOCX (55.1 KB)

If you get a form or certificate

If you're approved to use a seatbelt buckle cover, you must keep the below in the vehicle at all times:

  • form or medical certificate
  • instructions on how to use the buckle cover.

The driver must also present a copy of the form or certificate if requested by a police officer.

Safe and accessible transport for children

For resources and support on transport safety for children with a disability or medical condition, go to the Mobility and Accessibility for Children in Australia website.


Last updated: 02 July 2022

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