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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?

Since 1 October 2003, there must be standards-compliant safety belts in all front seating positions. Standards-compliant safety belts are required to be fitted in rear seating positions until the total number of safety belts in the vehicle match the total number of the vehicle’s sleeping positions (berths). The types of safety belts required are detailed (see Belt Types, below).

Please note: if a motorhome is imported or constructed that has more berths than safety belts, either additional standards-compliant safety belts must be retrofit (see Correct installation for retrofits, below) or excess berths must be permanently removed. It is the manufacturer, not the importer or trader, who 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

Seatbelts fitted to forward-facing and rearward-facing seats must be lap belts at a legal minimum. We recommend you upgrade to a lap-and-diagonal belt if you can, as they provide more protection in a crash.

Seatbelts fitted to sideways-facing seatbelts must be 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 Land Transport Rule: Seatbelts and Seatbelt Anchorages 2002.

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