Seat Belts Rules in New Zealand

seat belts

All drivers and passengers must wear seat belts at all times. Keep in mind that it is the driver's responsibility to ensure that any passenger under 15 years of age uses a seat belt or the proper child restraint. Passengers aged 15 and over are responsible for putting seat belts on themselves​.

All children under sever years of age must use an approved child restraint. According to NZ Transport Agency​, approved child restraints include: infant restraints for young babies (often called baby capsules), restraints for older babies, toddlers and preschool children (often called car seats), booster seats for preschool and school-aged children, and child safety harnesses (used with or without a booster seat) for preschool and school-aged children.

Children aged 8-14 must use safety belts if available and if not, they must travel in the back seat. A fine of NZ$150 can be issued for not wearing a seat belt. ​You can read more about the requirements and costs here​.

Who are exempted from wearing seat belts?

There are a few scenarios where you don’t have to wear a safety belt. These include:

  • A certificate from a medical practitioner confirming that it would be impractical or undesirable for medical reasons; you can also apply this exemption to child restraints.
  • If you are reversing and you are physically unable to turn around to see behind you when restrained by a seat belt.
  • If you can’t operate any of the main controls in the vehicle such as the steering wheel, horn, indicators, brakes and clutch.

Note that applying for an exemption can be done with NZTA and costs $27.20. This is non-refundable whether or not your extension is granted.

​For other driving tips, click here​​​​​​​.


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