NTC proposes changes to child restraint rules

By: Graham Gardiner


Measures to ensure children under 16 years old are restrained safely in taxis and public minibuses form part of a

Measures to ensure children under 16 years old are restrained safely in taxis and public minibuses form part of a package of draft amendments to Australia’s Road Rules released for public consultation by the National Transport Commission (NTC).

The proposed changes to seatbelt laws align national road rules with existing laws in many states.

If implemented, taxi and public minibus drivers would be required to ensure child passengers aged one to seven years old wear a suitable child restraint, or – if none is available – a seatbelt.

"It’s important for parents and carers to plan taxi trips with children and use approved child restraints; however, where this is not possible, it’s safer to wear a seatbelt than nothing," says NTC Senior Manager Safety Dr Jeff Potter.

Potter says the NTC will consult further with the taxi sector to ensure any rule changes are reasonable and practical for drivers and passengers.

The recommendations are part of a package of amendments to the Australian Road Rules released by the NTC for public consultation, including:
  • An increased distance between portable warning triangles and broken down heavy vehicles or fallen loads on high-speed roads
  • Clarification of when a child passenger should be restrained in the front seat of a vehicle
  • Examples and improved wording of some road rules to clarify their intent and promote better understanding (eg give-way provisions at roundabouts).

Public submissions on the proposed amendments close October 30, 2009.

To download the draft Regulatory Impact Statement and model amendments, and add comments or submissions, click here.

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