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Road Users

Public vehicle passengers

How to stay safe as a passenger in a public bus or taxi.

As an adult passenger in any vehicle, even one that's not your own, you should take personal responsibility to ensure you're travelling safely.

Wear your seatbelt – it’s the law

You should wear your seat belt at all times, no matter how long or short the journey is. A collision can happen in a split second and even hard braking can cause serious injury to you if you’re not wearing your seatbelt. 

If you are over 17, the law states that you are responsible for wearing your seat belt. Apart from the risk of being seriously injured, you are also at risk of being fined €2,000 if you are caught not wearing your seat belt.

Remember, you can also seriously injure the driver or your fellow passengers if you are not secured properly.

The responsibility of bus and taxi drivers

For passengers who are under 17 years, the bus or taxi driver is responsible for ensuring that they are correctly restrained in the vehicle. The driver is at risk of being fined up to €2,000 and receiving up to five penalty points if they are caught with passengers in this age group without a seat belt. 

View the penalty points system in Ireland

Bus and taxi drivers are not obliged to carry any passenger who refuses to wear a seat belt. 

How to wear your seat belt correctly

Seat belts are designed for anyone who is 150cm (about 5ft) in height and taller. Despite seeming a simple task, there is a proper way to wear your seat belt. Wearing it correctly will minimise the risk of serious injury to you or your passengers in the event of a crash. 

The position of your seat belt is very important. By making a simple correction to the position of the seat belt on your body, you can make a huge difference to the severity of your injuries in a collision.


To wear your seat belt correctly, you must:

  1. Allow plenty of excess strap and plug your seat belt into the buckle.
  2. Position the lap section of the seat belt on your pelvic region or tops of your thighs – not on your stomach.
  3. Pull the slack on the lap section and feed it up to your shoulder.
  4. Position the diagonal section of the belt across your torso or chest and on your shoulder – not your neck.

Some buses and cars have shoulder-height adjusters to help position the seat belt on top of your shoulder. 


Additional safety advice for bus passengers

Bus drivers are obliged to inform their passengers of the need to wear a seat belt using one or more of the following methods:

  • An announcement by the driver or conductor
  • Where the passengers comprise entirely of a single group or assembly, an announcement by the courier, escort, group leader, supervisor or bus driver. 
  • An audio-visual presentation, e.g. video
  • A sign prominently displayed at each seating position with a seat belt provided
  • A pictogram prominently displayed at each seating position with a seat belt provided.

Some buses have lap belts only. To wear these correctly, you should:

  • buckle the lap belt
  • position it on your pelvis 
  • tighten any slack.

The same positioning applies to children using adult seat belts with their child car seat (high-back boosters).

Movable items on the bus can become missiles in the event of a crash and can cause serious injury to you and others on the bus. You should store all luggage and big or heavy items in the boot of the bus or in the luggage areas provided. If neither of these are available, just like a plane, you should store these items underneath your own seat or the seat in front of you. Pay particular attention to luggage straps and strings that might stick out onto the walking aisle. 

You should be very careful when getting on and off buses. 

Getting on the bus:

  1. You should wait in a safe place for the bus, e.g. a bus stop or designated area.
  2. Wait until the bus has come to a complete stop and has opened the door fully before you approach it.
  3. Take care on the steps and take your time getting on.
  4. Proceed directly to an empty seat. 
  5. Secure luggage correctly.
  6. Put on your seat belt if there is one provided.

Getting off the bus:

  1. Signal to the driver your intention to get off the bus.
  2. Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting up from your seat.
  3. Proceed directly to the door, picking up your luggage along the way.
  4. Take care on the steps and take your time getting off the bus.
  5. NEVER cross in front of a stopped bus - wait until the bus has moved off and then once the road is clear, find a safe place to cross. 

In some buses, particularly urban buses, there are facilities such as designated spaces for wheelchair users and buggies. If these areas are provided, it is recommended you use them and ensure the brakes are on the wheels while the bus is in motion.

Other facilities such as 'kneeling' buses are also available, particularly in urban areas, where the bus will 'kneel' or lower to the edge of the path to allow wheelchair users or people with buggies to get on and off the bus easily. Other buses may have ramps to facilitate these users.