HC Deb 23 October 2000 vol 355 c60W
Ms Walley

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement in respect of safety protection required in the event of a frontal impact to(a) children and adults travelling on coaches and (b) children and adults travelling on a double or single decker bus if (a) sitting and (b) standing. [134186]

Mr. Hill

Other than the provisions for seat belts there are no specific safety requirements directed at frontal impact accidents in buses or coaches.

Seat belts must be available in coaches when groups of children are taken on organised trips. In coaches first used after 1 October 1988, whether adults or children are being carried, seat belts are required in the front passenger seats and in any rear seat which is not immediately behind a forward facing seat. Where a lap type seat belt is fitted to a seat the area in front must be soft or of other energy absorbing construction. Other than in these conditions the fitment and use of seat belts is optional. However, we recently consulted on the proposals to require seat belts to be provided in all new buses and coaches apart from those specifically designed to carry standing passengers. We plan that these requirements will take effect next year.

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