have an enhanced duty to ensure that the passenger was safely
positioned in the vehicle”.
 These statutory provisions suggest it is unlikely that Australian courts will find any positive duty on defendant drivers to
ensure that intoxicated passengers are properly seat belted.
 Novex submits there is a recognized duty of care on
a driver to ensure that adult passengers are seat belted when
there is a special relationship and vulnerability on the part of the
adult passenger. Novex suggests this “special relationship” arises
from the fact that the defendants are the driver and owner of
a taxi cab and the vulnerability arises because the adult passenger, Mr. Stewart, was visibly intoxicated.
Is the duty suggested by Novex a new duty or the extension of
a duty already recognized at law?
 Novex relies specifically on para. 16 of Galaske, which
Is there then a sufficiently close relationship between the driver of a motor
vehicle and his passengers to establish a prima facie duty of care? I think that
there undoubtedly is such a relationship. A driver owes a duty of care to his
passengers to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable injuries. For
example, a driver must comply with the rules of the road; a driver must exer-
cise reasonable caution in the operation of a motor vehicle; a driver must not
operate a motor vehicle that is known to be mechanically defective, for exam-
ple without brakes or headlights or an adequate steering mechanism. The
next question to be resolved is this: should that duty of care extend to ensur-
ing that passengers under 16 years of age wear their seat belts?
 The difficulty with this submission is that the court
in Galaske was considering whether a duty of care is owed by
a driver to a passenger under 16 years of age. Neither a taxi cab
nor vulnerability due to intoxication were at issue in Galaske.
 Galaske does provide that every passenger has a duty of
care to buckle their own seat belts. See Galaske, paras. 14-21 and
specifically at para. 25, where the Supreme Court concluded:
There is therefore a duty of care owed by an occupant of a car to wear a seat
belt. This duty is based upon the sensible recognition of the safety provided
by seat belts and the foreseeability of harm resulting from the failure to
 I am not persuaded that Galaske establishes that there
exists a duty owed on a taxi driver (or any driver) to ensure an
adult passenger is seat belted, whether or not the adult passenger
is vulnerable due to intoxication.