Confusion over safety advice has led to taxi drivers and customers not knowing the correct procedure when taking a child in a pushchair in their vehicle.
As previously reported in The Gazette, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council issued a statement which said to ensure the safety of all passengers in taxis in the borough, pushchairs are not allowed to be used to carry young children in the vehicle.
This has led hackney carriage drivers to believe that if they are to take families with pushchairs, they could get fined or potentially lose their licence.
The advice came from the borough council following crash tests showing that prams which are attached in the wheelchair fixing points in taxis will collapse in an accident, according to the Royal Society for the Invention of Accidents (RoSPA).
RoSPA also advises children over the age of three should wear a seat belt and that a seat belt should never be used for more than one person.
The law states that if a driver cannot provide the correct car seat children can travel without one - but only if they travel on a rear seat and wear an adult seat belt if they’re three years old or older or held on a parent’s lap if younger.
The council’s cabinet member for regulatory services and the environment, Cllr Hayley Kachus, said: “Advice is that parents of children over the age of three can secure their child in a taxi seat using the seat belt. Under no circumstances must our taxi drivers allow children to sit on their parents’ lap and share a seat belt, or be carried on board in a pushchair.”
Police confirmed that having children in pushchairs during transportation is an offence.
Mmmm... We ran an item about this issue last year, and have got no further in our quest to find the correct answer(s). The NPHA has received two more emails on the subject today (day of writing this) alone. Last year the Local Government Association referred us back to the current seat belt laws; however, whilst it is very clear about carrying children over three years old or 135cm in height, there is no specific rule about children under three – except they must not be carried on an adult’s knee, and they can travel in the back of a licensed vehicle (especially with a partition) unrestrained. What’s left? A child or baby seat – which owners/drivers of licensed vehicles are not compelled to provide. It has been deemed by many councils that carrying children in situ in prams/pushchairs using wheelchair clamps is dangerous. – Ed.