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Seatbelts

Seatbelts double the chance of survival and reduce the risk of injury in a road crash. Here's what you need to know about wearing seatbelts in NSW.

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Seatbelts

Each year around 40 people are killed on NSW roads because they're not wearing a seatbelt, and around 350 people are injured. These deaths and injuries can be prevented by wearing a seatbelt properly.

The rules

Drivers must wear a seatbelt while driving. Drivers must not have any part of their body outside the vehicle.

Drivers are also responsible for making sure:

  • each passenger is sitting in their own seat that’s fitted with a seatbelt (they must not share the seat or seatbelt with another passenger)
  • each passenger is wearing a properly secured and adjusted seatbelt or is in an approved child car seat suitable for their age and size
  • there are not more passengers in the vehicle than it’s designed to carry
  • no-one travels in an area of the vehicle not designed for passengers, for example, in the boot, on the floor, in the tray of a ute, or in a trailer or caravan
  • passengers do not travel with any part of their body outside the vehicle.

It’s also the responsibility of passengers aged over 16 to:

  • sit in their own seat and wear a properly secured and adjusted seatbelt
  • not travel in an area of the vehicle not designed for passengers
  • not have any part of their body outside the vehicle.

Children and seatbelts

You must not put a seatbelt around both yourself and a child on your lap. The child can be easily crushed.

You must not carry a child in your arms in a vehicle. In a crash the child can be crushed, thrown around in the vehicle, or thrown out of the vehicle.

For information on suitable approved child restraints, see Child car seats.

How to wear your seatbelt properly

During a crash, wearing a seatbelt slows your body down and puts the crash forces on the stronger parts of your body (pelvis and chest area).

For a seatbelt to work, you should adjust it 'low, flat and firm':

  • low – placed below your hips to fully secure your body weight
  • flat – no twists, turns or folds
  • firm – regularly pull the belt firm to remove any slack.

Seatbelt exemptions

Drivers with a full (unrestricted) licence do not have to wear a seatbelt when they are:

  • reversing their vehicle
  • driving a garbage or delivery vehicle travelling below 25km/h and need to get out regularly.

Passengers travelling with a driver with a full licence do not have to wear a seatbelt if they are:

  • getting or giving urgent and necessary medical treatment
  • in a garbage or delivery vehicle travelling below 25km/h and need to get out regularly.

All drivers, including learner, provisional P1 and P2 drivers, and their passengers may be exempt from wearing a seatbelt if they have a medical condition and are carrying an appropriate medical certificate.

Where possible, passengers who are exempt from wearing a seatbelt, or who are in a vehicle that does not have seatbelts fitted, should sit in the back seat.

Penalties for not wearing a seatbelt

If you drive while not wearing a seatbelt, or fail to make sure that your passengers are wearing a seatbelt, you will get a fine and demerit points. Double demerit points also apply.

In addition to the driver, passengers aged over 16 will get a fine for not wearing a seatbelt. They can also get a fine for travelling with any part of their body outside the vehicle.

See a list of Seatbelt-related penalties.

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