More Vexed Questions for our Wedding Car Industry
The carriage of minors and disabled persons in wedding cars
Q. Can minors be carried without seat belts in my pre 1965 wedding car (if no approved seat belts are fitted)?
A. Yes. Provided that no minor under the age of thirteen is carried in the front seat of the car and no child under the age of three is carried anywhere in the car. If you do carry them and have an accident the driver will be 100% liable even if the minor’s parent volunteers to take them on their lap. Remember in law it is the responsibility of the driver to confirm the ages of the children.
Q. Can minors under the age of sixteen be carried on their own?
A. Yes but it is not advisable. The driver could be leaving him/herself open to some very nasty and unwanted accusations. The NAWCP highly recommends that minors are always accompanied by a responsible adult known to the minors. Without the adult present the driver would have extreme difficulty refuting any accusations.
Q. Can disabled persons be carried?
A. Yes. Provided the passenger feels competent to get into the car with some assistance from the driver or other person. Remember the seat belt law still applies and disabled passengers must wear any seat belt provided, unless they can produce a current doctor’s certificate of ‘Seat Belt Exemption’.
Q. Do I have to carry a disabled passenger’s wheel chair?
A. You are not legally required to do so, but morally, if you have the space then please do. When making a decision you must be fair and must not be seen to be discriminating. The way things are going it may well be that all licensed (i.e. Private Hire) vehicles will in the future be forced to carry wheel chairs. This would only apply to our members who go down the Private Hire licensing route. At present each local licensing authority has their own rules.
Q. How many passengers can I carry?
A. Check your Vehicle Registration Certificate (V5C). Section S1 should give the number of seats including the driver. If it does not then you need to check back with historic records to see what the manufacturer originally stipulated. (The best place to try is the library at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in Hampshire and/or the library at the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire; if your cars are not British contact the NAWCP, we may well be able to help). If you overload your wedding car you could be open to prosecution. Just because they are small passengers (minors) don’t think you can get away with it, each passenger must legally have a full seat. If you have an accident with an overloaded car the consequences could be dire. Your insurance company could repudiate your insurance cover.
These opinions are based on research by the NAWCP’s legal advisor Travis Morley Associates. A copy of their report can be found by clicking here.
Members of the NAWCP are welcome to send us their questions and we will do our best to obtain an answer.