Reclining on a road trip? It could cost you: RACQ

RACQ has clarified the rules around reclining car seats in vehicles after it was revealed the popular road-trip seating position could not only earn drivers a fine but could put passengers at risk of serious injury.

News.com.au reported in New South Wales, drivers caught with a passenger who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt correctly could be hit with a $337 fine and three demerit points.

RACQ spokesperson Clare Hunter said the rules were the same in Queensland, and warned drivers if their passenger reclined too far they could be fined $391.

“The law says your seatbelt has to be correctly fitted and adjusted – and if your passenger is reclining too far this might mean they’re not properly restrained,” Ms Hunter said.

“As a driver you could be fined the same as if they’re not wearing a seatbelt at all, but what’s worse is if you have a crash, your passenger might be at risk of serious injury or even death.”

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Ms Hunter said it was a timely reminder given so many families were still on driving holidays.

“Many Queenslanders are still on road trips enjoying their holiday, and, while we’d encourage motorists to share the driving and rest when they’re in the passenger seat, we want them to do it safely,” she said.

“It’s about using a bit of common sense, passengers are able put their seat back a little so they’re comfortable, but they must remain buckled up safely.”

Ms Hunter reminded drivers their seatbelts must be positioned on the collarbone, not the neck, and the strap should sit low across the hips.

“Keep the Fatal Five top of mind when you’re behind the wheel. Don’t speed, drive tired or distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs and make sure everyone is properly restrained before you head off.”