A vehicle must have front and rear seat safety belts. The detailed requirements are specified. There is a requirement to use safety belts in the front and rear seats. The owner is liable for breach of the requirements by any users.
There are limited exemptions. A certificate by a medical practitioner in a specified format may be available to certain persons with medical conditions which prevent them using the restraint.
The use of a crash helmet while using a motor cycle is mandatory.
Certain vehicles must have specific plates and authorisations such as those carrying goods, trailers, emergency vehicles and public service vehicles.
A tractor must have a steel frame designed to protect the driver in the event of overturning. It is not required where for the vehicle is travelling between certain places.
Seat belts are mandatory and cars must not be used without them. Safety belts and child restraints are required. There are provisions for fixed charge penalty points etc. There are detailed provisions in respect of permissible and required child restraints.
The European Communities (Compulsory Use of Safety Belts and Child Restraint Systems in Motor Vehicles) Regulations govern the use of safely belts. Every adult occupant of a seat in a vehicle where a safety belt is provided, must wear the safety belt. Drivers must ensure persons under 17 comply with this obligation. Persons concerned other than the passenger under 17 years are guilty of an offence.
A person may not drive a vehicle with a child under 3 years on board unless the child is restrained by an appropriate child restraint system. This requires a child seat type arrangement with buckles and straps. A child under 3 years may be carried in a small public service vehicle (taxi) in a seat other than the front seat, if no appropriate child restraint system is available.
A person may not drive a vehicle with a child over 3 years, unless the child is restrained by an appropriate child restraint system. A child of 3 years or more may be carried on a seat other than a front seat of a vehicle, which is not equipped with a belt anchorage. In the case of a taxi, a child over three may be carried other than in the front seat if no appropriate child restraint system is available.
In the case of a child more than 135 cm height, the child must sit on a seat fitted with a safety belt which is worn. A child for the purpose of regulations is a person under 150 cm in height and weighing less than 36 kg.
A child restraint system applies to children under 36 kg containing either a child seat or partial restraint used in conjunction with the safety belt. A person shall not drive a vehicle with a child restrained by a rearward facing child restraint system fitted in the seat, in front of which there is an air bag, unless the airbag has been deactivated while the child restraint system is in use.
In larger vehicle with passenger capacity of more than eight persons, every adult and every child of 3 years or more occupying a seat shall wear a safety belt or appropriate child restraint system. The driver need not carry a passenger who without reasonable and just cause fails to comply with the obligation.
Passengers of such vehicles, generally taxis and smaller omnibuses, must be informed of the requirement. This must be done by announcement of the driver, or where they are part of a group by the group leader or supervisor, audio-visual presentation, prominent sign or pictogram.
The regulations do not apply to
- a person wearing a disabled person’s belt,
- holders of some certain medical certificates of exemption,
- persons giving instruction in respect of driving a vehicle
- members of Garda Síochána in the course of a duty,
- persons conducting a driving test.
A member of Garda Síochána may demand the requisite medical certificate, where it is claimed by way of exemption. Failure to produce within 10 days at a nominated Garda station is an offence.
The offences carry a fine up to €5,000 in as far as public service vehicles are concerned, and up to €2000 in the case of another vehicle.