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.

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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.

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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’.

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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.

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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.


7 Comments

  1. I understood that all seat belt, child seat and booster seat legislation does not apply to wedding cars because of the presence of US Stretch Limousines. Is that incorrect?

    • david says:

      All seat belt legislation applies to us, if we ignore it we are potentially liable to prosecution. Several members keep referring to the exemptions that Private Hire and Taxis have, these do not apply to us either. If anyone wants those exemptions they will have to licence as private hire through their local authority and we all know what that would cost! Those huge costs were why we as an association fought tooth and nail to reverse the Law Commission’s proposals to make us all licence as PH. Having won we can’t expect to latch on to PH seat belt exemptions which never applied to us in the first place.

  2. Andrew says:

    I knew about the under 3 seatbelt rule, however I was not aware of the under 13 rule in the front. Can the legal team clarify this rule and does this apply to every car, regardless of age and use? (we use our cars solely for weddings and are not private hire licenced)

  3. Craig says:

    Hi.
    I have vehicle I want to use for weddings. It is registered as a private minibus and has 15 seats including the driver seat. Does this mean if after bringing the Bride to the church for example I would be allowed to take up to 14 guests from the church to the evening venue?
    Thanks.

  4. Can disabled persons be carried?
    I was looking for this answer somewhere in the web, but all the wedding car rental companies I’ve enquiry they didn’t really know the answer but now everything is more clear.

    But what about the front passenger if she/ he is disabled and uses a wheelchair?

    Thanks for your attention.

    Lara

    • David Jones says:

      The Simple answer is YES but we would suggest that the passenger sees the car and assures themself that they are able to actutually get in, with the the appropriate assistance of the driver. I personally will not accept a booking without the disabled passenger seeing and trying the car prior to actually making the reservation. It would also be good if you, having taken the booking, that you check with the passenger a couple of weeks prior to the hire, to make sure the disability has not increased.
      There is nothing in law stopping you taking the booking but in law you do have a ‘duty of care’ to all your passengers.
      I hope this answers your question.

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