Skip to Content
Road Users

Seatbelts in cars and light and heavy commercial vehicles

Where seatbelts and child restraints are fitted to your vehicle, they must be worn at all times.

Children must be protected by a child restraint that is appropriate to their size and weight.

This content is for general information only. It does not, and is not intended to, provide legal or technical advice or to represent a legal interpretation of the matters it addresses.

Man with small child in car Download our Child Safety in Cars Booklet pdf | 3607 KB

Frequently asked questions

Where a seat belt is fitted it must be worn. The relevant legislation falls under S.I. No. 240 of 2006 of the Compulsory Use of Safety Belts and Child Restraints in Motor Vehicles Regulations 2006.

Yes. But only if the person holds a certificate from a registered medical practitioner excusing them from having to wear a seat belt or if they are wearing a disabled person’s belt e.g., if in a wheelchair. Other exemptions include driving instructors and driving testers during a lesson or a driving test, and members of An Garda Síochána or members of the Defence Forces in the course of their duties.

Three point or diagonal seatbeltTwo point or lap belt
Comes across the driver's shoulders and lap and buckles at endComes across lap only - most common on buses and coaches

Yes. There is no law against the use of lap belts. However, we strongly recommend three-point belts which are safer unless the seat is side facing.

No. There is no legal requirement to fit seat belts in vintage vehicles if they were not originally manufactured with them. However, we strongly recommend that seat belts be fitted to such vehicles for your own safety.

All children under 150 cm in height or 36 kg in weight must use a child restraint system (CRS) suitable for their height and weight while travelling in a car or goods vehicle other than a taxi or bus.

For further information download our Child Safety in Cars Booklet.

The same laws apply as with all other vehicles.

We are not aware of any current legislation in Ireland that would prevent the use of such a device as long as it is installed in line with the product manufacturer’s guidelines and does not compromise the effectiveness of the safety belt restraint system fitted by the original vehicle manufacturer.

As some cars are not compatible for having ISOFIX retrofitted, it is important that you seek advice from the manufacturer or authorised distributor before making any modification, and only fit parts that are type-approved and professionally fitted. For further advice and guidance on ISOFIX systems, see our webpage on Child Safety in Cars.

Yes. Note that where seat belts are fitted, they will be tested to ensure they are safe - regardless of the age of the vehicle and whether the seat belts are legally required to be fitted or not. If seat belts have been retrofitted, you may be asked to present seat belt certification or a modifications report at the test.

If fitted by the original manufacturer it should be type-approved and therefore meet all legal and safety requirements. If however they’ve been added post manufacture, this is considered to be a modification and should be certified by an suitably qualified individual. For further information, see our FAQ on Modifying/Converting a Vehicle.

This can only be done by seat belt manufacturers.

Road traffic regulations do not specifically prohibit the use of seat belt devices such as metal buckles, plastic clips, or seat belt extenders. However, they should not damage or otherwise interfere with the safe operation of the seat belt system. In addition, they should be approved to a recognised standard and designed for use by an adult.

You should routinely inspect all seat belts in your vehicle, checking that:

  • they are not cut or badly frayed.
  • they operate correctly i.e., when pulled out fully they should retract automatically.
  • the buckles work properly.

If a seat belt is damaged in any way or does not operate correctly, you should replace or repair it without delay at your local garage or an authorised dealer. Check to see if it has an ‘e’ or ‘E’ mark meaning it meets with EU regulations. If no markings are found, your vehicle manufacturer or authorised distributor should be able to tell you if your seat belts are compliant. For retrofitting of seat belts, you should contact the authorised distributor for your particular make of vehicle.

Related pages 

Vehicle components

Information and regulations for important vehicle components including lights, seat belts, glass and tyres.