The issue of seat belts in motorhomes is a complex one
As I often have to say to my children, belt up in the back!The issue of seat belts is a complex one. There are issues of law concerning use, both current and forthcoming, issues of law concerning manufacturer, both current and forthcoming, and issues of safety not to mention common-sense!!
Here we give our understanding of the issues as at the time of writing, June 2006. This is not intended to be a definitive statement of law.
We understand that there is currently not a legal requirement to have seat belts fitted to side-facing seats or seats that make up the living area in a motorhome although there is legislation that requires the vehicles front seats (driver's and passenger's) to have seat belts. Motorhome manufacturer do not therefore have to fit seat belts to the rear of the vehicle although, of course, many do. The number of seat belts fitted in the rear also often bears no relation to the number of people a motorhome may comfortably sleep. Where rear seat belts are fitted, they must be worn by any passengers being carried in the rear. You would anyway, wouldn't you?
It should be noted that any people carried in the rear of a motorhome can be considered luggage/goods by the police checking to see if your load is secured. The police can prosecute you if you are carrying passengers in a dangerous manner that may injure someone. We are not aware that this has ever happened to anyone we know.
There is some legislation on it way that does specify what has to be fitted and how they are used.
From 20th October 2007, new vehicles will have to have seat belts fitted to all seats except those seats that are intended solely for when the vehicle is parked-up. We expect most manufacturers will be building these seat belts into their vehicles from 2007 season models, generally available late 2006 onwards.
Legislation also dictates that from May 2009 it will be unlawful to carry more people in the rear, if seat belts are fitted in the rear, than there are seat belts fitted. This will apply to vehicles of any age. However, we understand that if there are no seat belts fitted in the rear at all, then it will still be lawful to carry passengers in the rear just as it is now. This is probably only of interest to owners of older vehicles.
29 June 2006