Do Seatbelt Laws Apply To My Older Motorhome?
How Seatbelt Laws Affect Older RVs
We are looking at a 1976 Motorhome however there are no seatbelts in the back for our children. Is there a law that they wouldn't need them as long as they are sitting down?
ANSWER: The answer to your question is yes and no, depending on which state your Motorhome is traveling in. Most states require that the driver of a Motorhome and the front seat passenger be buckled up when the Motorhome is in motion. However some states have exclusions to the seatbelt laws for the passengers in the living compartment of a Motorhome.
Here is a USA Seat Belt Laws by State List (please note, I do not know how up-to-date this list is).
Here is the bigger question "Should your children wear a seatbelt when traveling in an RV?" In my personal opinion the answer to that question is a resounding Yes, whether there is a law requiring it or not. RVs get into accidents just like automobiles and an unbelted child has a real good chance of being thrown out of the numerous windows in a Motorhome during an accident.
I know from firsthand experience that "Seatbelts Save Lives". Having previously been a Volunteer Fireman/EMT for many years; I can attest to how many times that we rolled up to a serious accident scene to find that the only thing that stood between the sudden death
of a child involved in that accident was a buckled seatbelt.
I can also tell you that we rolled up on some very survivable auto accidents where people were killed as a direct result of the injuries they sustained by not wearing a seatbelt.
Motorhomes do not always fare well in accidents. It is an unfortunate fact that Federal Law do not require crash and rollover testing of Motorhomes as they do for cars, SUVs, semi-trucks and charter buses. As a result of this lack of testing the only way to find out for sure how safe your Motorhome is in a crash is to be involved in one. That fact alone should be reason enough to keep the seatbelts on while going down the road in a Motorhome.
Because there are no seatbelts currently installed in the living area of the Motorhome you are looking at does not mean that you cannot have them installed. Seatbelts can be retro-fitted to older cars and RVs.
I know that you got more than you bargained for in my answer to your question, but I am a passionate believer in the usage of seatbelts.
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