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23.—(1) The Department may make regulations requiring, subject to such exceptions as may be prescribed, persons who are driving or riding in motor vehicles on a road to wear seat belts of such description as may be prescribed.
(2) Regulations under this Article—
(a)may make different provision in relation to different classes of vehicles, different descriptions of persons and different circumstances;
(b)may, for the purpose of implementing the seat belt Directive, authorise the wearing of a seat belt approved under the law of a member State other than the United Kingdom;
(c)shall include exceptions for—
[F1(i)the driver of, or a passenger in, a motor vehicle constructed or adapted for carrying goods, while on a journey which does not exceed the prescribed distance and which is undertaken for the purpose of delivering or collecting any thing,]
(ii)the drivers of vehicles while performing a manoeuvre which includes reversing;
(iii)any person holding a valid certificate signed by a medical practitioner to the effect that it is inadvisable on medical grounds for him to wear a seat belt;
(d)shall, for the purpose of implementing the seat belt Directive, include an exception for any person holding a certificate to the like effect as that mentioned in sub-paragraph (c)(iii) which was issued in a member State other than the United Kingdom and which, under the law of that State, is valid for purposes corresponding to those of this Article;
(e)may make any prescribed exceptions subject to such conditions as may be prescribed; and
(f)may prescribe cases in which a fee of a prescribed amount may be charged on an application for any certificate required as a condition of any prescribed exception.
(3) A person who drives or rides in a motor vehicle in contravention of regulations under this Article is guilty of an offence; but notwithstanding any enactment or rule of law no person other than the person actually committing the contravention is guilty of an offence by reason of the contravention.
(4) If the holder of any such certificate as is referred to in paragraph (2)(c) or (d) is informed by a constable that he may be prosecuted for an offence under paragraph (3), he is not in proceedings for that offence entitled to rely on the exception afforded to him by the certificate unless—
(a)it is produced to the constable at the time he is so informed; or
(b)it is produced—
(i)within 7 days after the date on which he is so informed, or
(ii)as soon as is reasonably practicable,
at such police station as he may have specified to the constable; or
(c)where it is not produced at such police station, it is not reasonably practicable for it to be produced there before the day on which the day on which the proceedings are commenced.
(5) For the purposes of paragraph (4), the service of a summons on the accused shall be treated as the commencement of the proceedings.
(6) Regulations under this Article requiring the wearing of seat belts by persons riding in motor vehicles shall not apply to children under the age of 14 years.
(7) In this Article, “the seat belt Directive” means the Directive of the Council of the European Communities, dated 16th December 1991 (No. 91/671/EEC), on the approximation of the laws of member States relating to compulsory use of safety belts in vehicles of less than 3.5 tonnes.
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