New legislation to enforce the use of safety belts, particularly for young children, is proposed today (11/12/00) by the European Commission.

Brussels says that in many of the 15 EU member countries lives are being lost because passengers in road vehicles are not using seat-belts even when fitted.

Specifically the Commission wants to end the right of member states to allow children older than three to use adult belts. It will also provide that children under three be protected by special child devices.

"Child restraints approved to a recognised technical standard should be provided and used," says the Commission. The use of a rearward facing child restraint on a front passenger seat is to be banned unless the relevant air bag has been either disconnected or switched off.

Finally the Commission proposes that safety belts, where fitted, "shall be used by drivers and seated passengers of lorries and coaches."