What is the law on child safety in motor vehicles in Trinidad and Tobago?

Children’s car seats are required in Trinidad and Tobago. Children under 5 years old must also sit in the back seat. carseat1

According to 43D(1)(a) of the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act,
The driver of a motor vehicle shall not, without reasonable excuse, drive his vehicle while there is in the front seat of the vehicle a child of five years of age and under; 

This means a child who is 5 or under should never be sitting in the front seat of your vehicle while you are driving. If you as the driver allow this occur, you can draw a fine of $1000TT; this is according to no. 66 in the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic (Enforcement and Administration) Act.

If this $1000TT fine is not paid within the time specified on the ticket, proceedings will commence in the Magistrate’s Court. According to section 43D(4) of the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, the driver is liable on summary conviction (in the Magistrate’s court) to a fine of $2000TT.

According to 43D(1)(b) of the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act,
The driver of a motor vehicle must ensure that a child:

  • under 6 months of age is restrained in a properly fastened and adjusted, rearward facing child restraint.
  • over 6 months and under four years of age is restrained in a properly fastened and adjusted, rearward facing child restraint or a forward facing child restraint that has an in-built harness and
  • over four years and under five years of age is restrained in a properly fastened and adjusted, forward facing child restraint that has an in-built harness or an approved booster seat that is properly positioned and fastened.

It should be noted that this law does not apply to the driver of a public service vehicle (for example a taxi driver).
Failing to place a child who is five years and under in a child restraint or booster seat in the vehicle attracts a fine of $1000TT; this is according to no. 67 in the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic (Enforcement and Administration) Act.

If this $1000TT fine is not paid within the time specified on the ticket, proceedings will commence in the Magistrate’s Court. According to section 43D(4) of the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, the driver is liable on summary conviction (in the Magistrate’s court) to a fine of $2000TT.

The driver of a motor vehicle shall not be guilty of an offence:

  • If he can prove that the child held a valid certificate signed by a medical practitioner to the effect that it is inadvisable on medical grounds for the child to be placed in a child restraint or booster seat and the certificate shall be valid for a period of not more than two years from the date of issue OR
  • where there is only one row of seats in the vehicle.

Disclaimer: This post is not legal advice. If you have a legal problem, it is advised that you consult an Attorney-at-Law.

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