Can my car be immobilized if I travel with a child without a child car seat?
We know that current regulations require minors up to 135 cm tall to use child restraint systems. Furthermore, in the case of vehicles with up to 9 seats, children must be seated on the rear seats, save for three exceptions: if the rear seats are being occupied by other children in child car seats, if the CRS cannot be installed on those seats, or if the vehicle does not have rear seats. Failing to comply with this obligation, apart from risking the child’s safety, carries a fine and even the immobilization of the vehicle.
Article 117 of the Spanish General Traffic Law establishes the compulsory nature of using child restraint systems for children under 135 cm tall. This means that all children under this height must use an approved child car seat suitable for their height and weight when travelling by car.
What happens if these regulations are breached?
First and foremost, a child restraint system can make the difference between life and death. A child car seat reduces deaths by 75% and injuries by 90%, as highlighted by the Spanish Department of Traffic. In order for the CRS to work properly, it is vital that you choose the most appropriate child car seat and ensure it is well secured and installed.
Above all, safety should be the main reason that compels all users to start using child restraint systems properly when travelling with children who require such a seat.
We would also point out that there is a fine. Failure to install and use a child restraint system is a serious offence which carries a 200 euro fine and the removal of 4 points from your driving license.
If all of this were not enough, Article 104 of the Traffic and Road Safety Act also sets out the different situations in which an officer can immobilize a vehicle and failing to use a child car seat is one of them. Officers on traffic patrol can proceed to immobilize a vehicle if the driver or passenger are not using a helmet or a child restraint system, where it is compulsory to do so. The immobilization will of course be lifted once the reason for immobilizing the vehicle is dealt with, namely, if the child is transported in the child car seat.
It should be noted that any costs incurred as a result of the immobilization of the vehicle will be borne by the driver who committed the offence. Failing that, the costs will be charged to the main driver or the person who hired the car and, if not, to the car’s owner. The costs must be paid before the immobilization can be lifted.