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Seatbelts in Minibuses

Minibuses carrying three or more children, aged at least 3 but less than 16 years, on organised trips or to and from school are required to be fitted with forward facing seats and seatbelts. Drivers should check to see how child passengers are wearing their seat belts before setting off on the journey. These requirements also apply to coaches but not to
buses. ALL seats MUST be forwards facing and the seat restraint system must comply with existing Regulations. This has been the law since 10 February 1997.

If choosing a new minibus, forward facing, high-back seats should be specified. Seats fitted to meet at least M2 standards are recommended. The law requires either 2-point (lap) or 3-point (lap and diagonal) belts to be fitted. 3-point belts provide better protection in the event of an accident than 2-point belts which may cause injury in some accidents (although 2-point belts are better than no belts at all).  All seat belts should be worn as tightly as possible and lap belts should go over the top of the thighs and NEVER the stomach.

They must be approved and marked ‘e’, ‘E’ or ‘BS 3254’ and comply with M2 criteria in the EU Directive 77/541. The anchorage must comply with M2 criteria in EU Directive 76/115. The “3 for 2” concession, which allowed three children under the age of 14 to share a double seat in a minibus or coach, no longer applies where seats are fitted with belts. Where seatbelts are fitted, each child must occupy one seat. It is dangerous, and now illegal, for a seat belt to be worn by more than one person at a time.

Seatbelts should be worn at all times by pupils and staff. There is a legal requirement that seatbelts are worn in minibuses, other than in extremely large minibuses which are unlikely to be available to schools. The driver has the legal responsibility for enforcing this requirement and ensuring that seatbelts are worn, except in the case of adults and children aged 14 and over who are personally esponsible for the wearing of their seatbelt.

 

 

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