HC Deb 29 October 1998 vol 318 cc247-8W
Mr. Paul Marsden

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to make the wearing of seat belts by passengers compulsory on all buses. [56457]

Ms Glenda Jackson

The Department encourages the wearing of seat belts in all vehicles wherever they are fitted. There are no present plans to make the wearing of seat belts by passengers compulsory in all buses (including coaches and larger minibuses) where they are required to be fitted.

At present, unless groups of children are being carried on organised trips, there is no requirement for seat belts to be fitted in the rear seats of minibuses or the unexposed rear seats of coaches. Seat belts for passengers are not required to be fitted in other types of bus, mainly the type used on local bus services. That is because the seats and floors are generally not suitable to be so fitted, or to take the loads that a seat belt would exert in a crash, without major modification.

The law requires that passengers in small minibuses (those with an unladen weight of 2540kg or less) must wear seat belts where they are fitted. However, wearing is not a requirement in larger minibuses and coaches because of problems of enforceability.