HL Deb 29 April 1998 vol 589 cc27-8WA
Lord Braine of Wheatley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which countries in Europe have a law which (a) prohibits and (b) restricts children under 14 years of age from riding in the front seat of a motor vehicle, together with the relevant penalty in each country. [HL1554]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman)

The Government are not aware of any EU member state which prohibits or restricts the riding by children in a front seat except in cases where no suitable seat belt or child restraint is available. Comprehensive information about non-EU countries is not available, but it is known that in the Czech Republic, children under 12 years are not permitted to occupy front seats.

All EU member states have legislation which complies with Council Directive 91/671/EEC requiring the use of safety belts in the front and rear seats of cars and front seats of other motor vehicles of less than 3.5 tonnes. With some exceptions, children under 12 years of age and less than 150 cm tall must use a restraint system appropriate for that child, save that for children aged 3 and over member states may in their own territory provide the alternative of restraint by an adult belt. Older children, like adults, must also use adult belts where available.