HL Deb 30 October 1997 vol 582 c266WA
Baroness Jeger

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why some London taxis are not fitted with passenger seat belts; and what steps they are taking to remedy this deficiency.

Baroness Hayman

Taxis are regarded as cars for the purposes of the seat belt regulations. As in cars, rear seat belts are only required in all taxis first used on or after 1 April 1987 and we do not require rear seat belts to be fitted in vehicles which are older than this.

Many older vehicles were not equipped with seat belt anchorage points when they were manufactured; in these it may be technically difficult to fit seat belts properly. Even where anchorages were installed at the time of manufacture, it would be unreasonable to insist on belts being retro-fitted now as such vehicles have an extremely limited life remaining.

By 1 Janaury 2000, all taxis in London will have to he wheelchair accessible. Wheelchair accessible taxis were introduced in 1989 so, apart from a small number of pre-1989 cabs which are being converted for wheelchair access, by January 2000 virtually all taxis in London will have rear seat belts.