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The legal requirements for safety belts in your motorhome are explained here. Any improvements will increase the safety for you and your passengers. If you're hiring a motorhome for a journey, check that the vehicle meets these standards before your take it on the road.

Requirements for safety belts

Safety belts must be fitted in:

  • all motorhomes manufactured on or after 1 October 2003
  • all motor vehicles converted into motorhomes on or after 1 October 2003.

While older motorhomes are not required to have safety belts, we strongly recommend that you voluntarily fit them. If it's not possible to fit safety belts to rear seats of older vehicles, try to eliminate, or at least pad, sharp edges and projections in the area to reduce your passengers' risk of injury.

How many belts?

The number of safety belts must match or exceed the number of sleeping berths – eg if your vehicle sleeps six you must have safety belts for at least six. (The manufacturer – who can be a private individual – determines the number of berths.)

Belt types

Front seats

The driver's seat and front outer seat must each have a three-point, dual-sensitive, retractor safety belt.

If your vehicle has a front middle seat, it must have at least a lap belt. This is the legal minimum. We recommend you upgrade this to a lap-and-diagonal belt if you can, as they provide more protection in a crash.

Rear seats

Forward-facing and rear-facing seats must have at least a lap belt. While legally you can upgrade these to a lap-and-diagonal belt, which we recommend, it may not be possible. For example, a window may make anchoring a lap-and-diagonal belt impossible.

Sideways-facing seats must have lap belts. This is a legal requirement – you cannot upgrade to a lap-and-diagonal option.

Safety belt notices

You must display a notice in a prominent place in the rear seating area of your vehicle, telling your passengers, that:

  • for their safety, they should travel on seats fitted with safety belts
  • where their seat has a safety belt, they must use the safety belt.

For seats that can swivel or change direction, the passenger should sit in the direction in which they can use the safety belt properly. You need to display a sign showing the direction the seat needs to face for the belt to be used properly.

Correct installation for retrofits

If your motorhome has retrofitted safety belts, the belts must be certified by:

  • a specialist low volume vehicle certifier (for light vehicles)
  • a heavy-vehicle certifier (for heavy vehicles).

This certification checks that the belt anchorages can withstand crash forces. For information on light vehicle certification, contact the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association.(external link)

See the standards approved by the Land Transport Rule: Seatbelts and Seatbelt Anchorages 2002.

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