Failure to wear a seatbelt is one of the leading causes of death of victims involved in car crashes. Wearing a properly adjusted seatbelt reduces the risk of fatal or serious injury by up to 50%.
In Queensland, approximately 50 people die each year and more than 250 are hospitalised from road crashes as a result of not wearing a seatbelt.
Unrestrained passengers can potentially kill other vehicle occupants on impact. Studies show that drivers and front-seat passengers are at a 5 times greater risk of dying in a car crash if the rear passengers are not wearing seatbelts. This is particularly the case in head-on collisions.
One third of children admitted to hospital due to car crash injuries were not properly secured in a child restraint at the time of the crash.
Since March 2010 all children up to 7 years of age must be secured in a child restraint. The child restraint must comply with the Australian Standard.
The following is a minimum requirement for children travelling in a car in Queensland:-
• Age: Birth – 6 months
Must travel in rearward facing child restraint or baby capsule, fitted with an approved 6 point safety harness. The restraint must be tethered to the vehicle.
• Age: 6 months – 1 year
Must travel in a child restraint, fitted with an approved 6 point safety harness. The restraint may be fitted rearward facing or forward facing. The restraint must be tethered to the vehicle.
It is recommended that babies and infants remain in a rearward facing position for as long as possible – until they outgrow the restraint.
• Age: 6 months – 4 years
Must travel in a child restraint, fitted with an approved 6 point safety harness. The restraint must be tethered to the vehicle.
• Age: 4 – 7 years
Must travel in an approved booster seat with an adult seatbelt or H-harness until they outgrow the booster by height or weight. The booster must be tethered to the vehicle.
The law about seatbelts
Everyone who travels in a car in Queensland must wear a seatbelt (unless they have a legal exemption). The driver of the car is responsible for the proper restraint of all passengers under 16 years of age. Children under 7 years must use a child restraint suitable for their age.
A bus driver is not responsible for ensuring passengers on the bus are wearing seatbelts.
Taxi drivers are not required to wear a seatbelt while there are passengers in the car. This exemption does not extend to Uber drivers.
If you are over 16 years of age and you are caught not wearing a seatbelt (as a driver or a passenger in a car), you may be fined $365 and incur 3 demerit points.
If a child is not riding in an approved child restraint suitable for their age which is properly fastened and adjusted, the driver can be fined $365 and incur 3 demerit points for each child that is not properly restrained. Double demerit points will apply for second or subsequent child restrain or seatbelt offences committed within 1 year of the earlier offence.