Driving School Ireland,
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Vehicle Safety Requirements

Section 4 (Part 2)

Safety belts

You must wear a safety belt. The only exceptions are for:

  • people who wear a disabled person's belt,
  • people whose doctors have certified that, on medical grounds, they should not wear a safety belt,
  • driving instructors or driver testers during a lesson or a test, and
  • Garda. or members of the defence forces in the course of their duty.

Private buses and heavy goods vehicles registered since 20 October 2007 must have seat belts fitted.

Bus owners are required to present documentation at their roadworthiness test certifying that the seat belts, where fitted to their vehicle, meet a minimum standard.

Since October 2011, all buses involved in the organised transport of children are required to be fitted with certified seat belt installations. This requirement does not apply to the transport of children on bus services offered to the general public (scheduled urban or inter-urban bus services).

Failure to wear a safety belt is a crime. No Seatbelt, No Excuse.

Child restraint systems

Safety belts are designed mainly for adults and older children. Child safety protection laws make it compulsory for all children to use the correct child seat, booster seat or booster cushion. Smaller children - under 150 centimetres and less than 36 kilograms - must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system when travelling in a passenger car or goods vehicle. Examples of appropriate restraint systems are baby car seats and booster seats.

You must comply with the following:

  • Where safety belts have been fitted, they must be worn.
  • Children under 3 years of age must not travel in a car or goods vehicle (other than a taxi) unless restrained in the correct child seat.
  • Children aged 3 years or over who are under 150cms in height and weighing less than 36 kilograms (i.e. generally children up to 11/12 years old) must use the correct child seat or booster cushion when travelling in cars or goods vehicles
  • Children over 3 years of age must travel in a rear seat in vehicles not fitted with safety belts.
  • A rearward-facing child car seat must not be used in the front passenger seat of cars with active airbags.
  • A child car seat must be in accordance with EU or United Nations - Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE) standards.
  • Make sure passengers aged under 17 use the correct seat, booster seat, booster cushion or seatbelt. All drivers are legally responsible for this.

Never put a rearward facing seat in the front seat, if there is a passenger airbag.

Rearward facing Child seat
baby seat

Weight: for babies up to 13kgs (29lbs)
Approximate age range: birth to 12-15 mths

Forward facing child seat
child seat

Weight: 9-18kgs (20-40lbs)
Approximate age range: 9mths to 4 years

Rearward facing Child seat
Booster seat
Weight: 15-23kgs (33-55lbs)
Approximate age range: 4-6 years

Child fixing cushion
Fixing cushion
Weight: 22-36kgs (48-79lbs)
Approximate age range:6-12 years

Ensuring a child is properly restrained in a child car seat can reduce injuries by a factor of 90-95% for rear-facing seats and 60% for forward-facing seats*.

*Source: AA Motoring Trust

What to remember when using child restraints

  • Use the correct restraint for each child.
  • Use the child seat for every journey, no matter how short.
  • For young children, choose a seat that:
  • bears an E mark (meaning that it meets United Nations Standard ECE Regulation 44 03),
  • suits the child's weight and height, and
  • is suitable for the type of car.
  • The best advice is not to buy or use a second hand car seat.
  • Fit the child seat correctly, according to the manufacturer's instructions. It is safer to fit the seat in the back seat of your car.

It is recommended that you buy a child car seat only from a retailer who will check it fits. Make sure it fits your child and your car. For further information go to .

Restraints for passengers under 17

By law, the driver of a passenger car or goods vehicle is responsible for passengers under 17 years of age wearing a safety belt or an appropriate child restraint. You may receive up to 4 penalty points if your passengers in this age group are not belted or restrained.

If you would like more information, you can get a booklet and DVD called Child Safety in Cars from the Road Safety Authority. Lo-Call 1890 50 60 80.

Roof racks and roof boxes

If you use a roof rack or roof box, you must :

  • securely fit it to your vehicle,
  • make sure that the load does not block your view of the road in any direction,
  • never overload it,
  • never place the load in a way that might cause it to fall off, and
  • never load the rack or box in a way that would destabilise your vehicle.

To be safe, you should check that the roof rack or box is correctly mounted and the load is completely secured before you set off. These checks also apply if you are using a rear or roof-mounted bicycle rack.

Vehicle registration plates

The law sets down what vehicle registration plates must look like. The two diagrams below show the only formats that are allowed for vehicles registered in Ireland on or after 1 January 1991.

licence plate front
Diagram 1:

licence plate rear
Diagram 2:

Vehicle registration plates must be kept clean and legible. All numbers and letters must be in plain black text on a plain white reflective background. There should be no italics or shadows. You must not interfere with a registration plate.

If you would like more information on vehicle plates, you can get a leaflet from the following page on Revenue's website:-

Vehicle Registration Plates

Other safety responsibilities

As a driver, you have a number of other responsibilities to your passengers.

Children in motor vehicles

You must not leave infants or young children on their own in a motor vehicle, even if you are away for a short time. The children may face a number of hazards, such as:

  • a fire breaking out,
  • difficulty in breathing on a warm day (if all windows are closed), and
  • being trapped in electric windows, which could result in serious injury or death.

Animals in motor vehicles

You should never leave animals alone in vehicles. It is cruel and unsafe and can result in injury to the animal and/or damage to your vehicle.

Using a mobile phone

You must not drive a vehicle or ride a motorbike while using a hand-held mobile phone. It is an offence, for which you will receive up to 4 penalty points and a fixed charge of €60 to €90.

Cyclists should never use a mobile phone when cycling and pedestrians should exercise care when using one.

Personal entertainment systems

As a road user, you should avoid using personal entertainment systems through earphones. These systems, for example personal radios and MP3 players, can distract you, and may prove dangerous when driving or crossing the road. Cyclists in particular should avoid these systems, as they rely on their hearing while on the road.

If you do use a personal or in-car system, play it at a volume that does not distract or prevent you from hearing emergency sirens or car horns.

Section 4 - Part 1

BMW series 1 116i Tuition Car