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There is a persistent myth that it is not necessary to wear a seatbelt while in a taxi, which does not help passengers who face injuries should that taxi crash. The reason for this myth existing may be the fact that the driver need not wear a seatbelt while driving a paying passenger, but this does not extend to anyone else in the car.
Some taxis in Scotland have been fitted with a system that issues passengers with reminders of the legal requirement to wear a seatbelt. This is a useful gesture toward safety, but the law states that adults bear their own responsibility for ensuring they wear a seatbelt, if one is fitted. For these purposes, an adult is considered to be anyone over 14 years old. The use of seatbelts by children younger than this, however, is considered the driver's responsibility.
In the event of a taxi accident, then, a passenger who did not wear a seatbelt is considered to have committed 'contributory negligence', which means they are held to be partly to blame for their injuries although not for the crash itself and this can reduce the damages awarded in a compensation claim following a crash.
It is now very rare to find a taxi manufactured without seatbelts, and, in many cases, older models have had belts installed by their owners. There have been some stories of 'phantom seat belts', where they have slipped between seats so as to become invisible, but as the law refers to whether a seatbelt is fitted, not noticing one of these phantom seatbelts may well still count as contributory negligence in the event of a taxi crash.
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