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Seatbelts in Motorhomes PDF Print E-mail

Seat_BeltThere have been a number of changes to the laws relating to the fitting and using seatbelts in motorhomes. Seat belts have been fitted to the front seats of motorhomes since seatbelts were first introduced and it is mandatory to wear them. In addition, motorhomes first registered on or after October 20th 2007 must have seat belts for forward and rearward facing seats in the rear. These seats must be designated as travelling seats and have a badge stating this.


In a vehicle manufactured after this date, if a seat is not badged for travel you should not use it. Many motorhomes registered before that date have seat belts fitted, Wherever these are fitted, they should be worn; this has been mandatory since April 2006. EC Directive 2005/39/EC also states that travel in sideways facing seats with a seat belt is unsafe and that from October 20th 2007, it will not be possible to travel in them in new motorhomes. This legislation is not retrospective so vehicles registered before 20th October 2007, do not have to have seat belts fitted in the rear.


Please note that the Department of Transport also point out that Regulation 100(1) of the Road Vehicles Construction and Use Regulations 1986 and Section 40A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 state that : "A person is guilty of an offence if he uses, or causes or permits another to use a motor vehicle or trailer on a road when a) the condition of the motor vehicle or trailer or of its accessories or equipment or b) the purpose for which it is used, or c) the number of passengers carried by it or the manner in which they are carried or d) the weight, position or distribution of its load or the manner in which it is secures, is such that the use of the motor vehicle or trailer involves a danger of injury to any person."


The Department for Transport has published this table to summarise the present requirements:

Front Seat Rear Seat Who is Responsible?
Driver Seat belt must be worn if fitted Driver
Child under 3 years of age Correct child restraint must be used Correct child restraint must be used. If one is not available in a taxi, may travel unrestrained Driver
Child from 3rd birthday up to 135cms in height (or 12th birthday whichever they reach first) Correct child restraint must be used Correct child restraint must be used where seat belts fitted. Must use adult belt in a rear seat if correct child restraint not available - in a taxi; - for a short distance in an unexpected necessity; - if two occupied child restraints prevent fitting a third Driver
Child 12 or 13 , or over 135cms in height Seat belt must be worn if fitted Seat belt must be worn if fitted Driver
Adult passengers Seat belt must be worn if fitted Seat belt must be worn if fitted Passenger

Source: Department for Transport


Children under 3 years MUST use the child restraint appropriate for their weight in any vehicle (including vans and goods vehicles).


Rear-facing baby seats MUST NOT be used in a seat protected by a frontal air-bag unless the air-bag has been deactivated manually or automatically.


In vehicles where seat belts are fitted, children 3 years to 135cms in height (approx 4ft 5ins) MUST use the appropriate child restraint.


Two exceptions allow children 3 years to 135 cms in height to travel in the rear of a motor home and use an adult belt but only for a short distance in unexpected necessity:


If the right child restraint is not available; or where two occupied child seats in the rear prevent the fitment of a third child seat.


Medical exemptions:

Certain medical conditions may allow you an exemption from seat belt wearing. You should consult your doctor if you think you should not wear a seat belt on medical grounds.


This information is provided as a guide only. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is correct but this guide must not be construed as legal advice.


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