Safety is always a concern. It seems that not all models of self-drive RVs come with enough seat belts. While there are enough for all passengers, some areas only get one when 3 or 4 people want to sit at the same table. This does not make for great interaction between family members.
Yes, it is possible to add set belts to your RV. The drawback to doing this will be certification. You may not be able to get them safety-certified for insurance or other purposes. It is something to consider before adding more to your vehicle.
To learn more about this topic, just continue to read our article. It explores the subject to make sure you have the best information possible for you to make an informed decision on this important matter. Take a few minutes to see how this information helps you.
Yes, it is possible to do and you should be able to pick up the extra seat belts at any auto parts store. The trick is to make sure those belts are long enough to go where they need to go.
If you think you do not have enough seat belts for the kids to sit together and play games or do other activities, then you need to consider this step. You also have to consider the different seat belt laws.
The laws will vary from state to state, and they are designed to be applied according to the age of the children inside the RV. Here are a few of those laws to provide an example of what you are facing:
Missouri: Children under 15 need to buckle up if they’re riding in the back seats
Montana: Everyone riding in an RV is required to wear a seat belt
Nebraska: Those under 18 need to buckle up in the back seats
Nevada: Everyone is required to wear a seat belt in an RV unless it is traveling at less than 15 miles per hour
New Hampshire: Everyone is required to wear a seat belt in an RV unless it is a 1968 or older model
New Jersey: Children 17 and under are required to buckle up in the back seats
New Mexico: All passengers must wear a seat belt
New York: Children under 15 are required to wear seat belts in the back seats
North Carolina: Children under 16 are required to wear seat belts in the back seats***
While RV makers do supply enough seat belts, they may be spread out a little which interferes with different children’s activities that keep them from getting bored.
This is sort of a hit and miss situation. There are some models of RVs that come with a seat belt for every place at the dinette. Then there are some models that may only come with 2 and other models, as some owners have found out, have only 1 seat belt located at the dinette.
When children or passengers want to sit at the table to play games, chat, or do other activities, this may not be allowed due to the lack of seat belts and state laws.
What this means is that you have to add more seat belts to make sure there are enough of them for all passengers. The problem or drawback that comes with adding in more of these belts, is certification.
If you DIY this project, you are not qualified to certify the belts and may have to have a professional who can certify them to do the work. That can be costly but if by chance you have an accident and a child gets hurt, this lack of certification may hinder your claim.
The other issue is that you have to find seat belts that are long enough to reach from the floor to each dinette seat. You will have to take some accurate measurements to ensure that you get belts that are long enough while remaining comfortable to wear.
If you have small children or even teenagers, double-check to see how many seat belts are installed at the dinette. You may want to pass on the RV that has only 1 or 2 of them installed at that location.
Well, this can be a bit tricky to do. There are issues no matter where you turn. For example, children and other passengers need to wear seat belts when in a self-drive RV. At least for most of the states.
One issue is going to be insurance. You may have trouble with your insurance company when you have an accident and have self-installed those seat belts. Talking to your insurance agent is the way to solve this problem.
The next issue will be the position of the dinette. If it has forward and backward seating, then you will be fine and the seat belts installed should work and protect your passengers.
But if the dinette seating is side to side, then you may create a situation where an accident could cause some devastating injuries to your passengers. This should only be done if you have no other option available.
Another issue that has nothing to do with you is when the manufacturer improperly installs a seat belt or two or installs inferior belts on purpose. If this is done, your passengers may not be safe at all. You end up having to re-tighten bolts every time you use your RV.
You can replace those inferior seat belts with your own system but besides insurance, you also have to watch out for your warranty coverage. Check with your dealer to see how to do this project without voiding the warranty.
Some models do not come with anchor points which can complicate the whole situation.
This is a possibility and the good news is as follows:
“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) generally does not crash test RV's. While passenger vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 lbs (4,536 kg) are required to meet seat belt standards because RV's weigh over this amount any seats in the rear cabin of the RV are not required to meet seat belt standards.”
RVs are not required to have rear occupant crash testing or need to meet Federal seat belt standards for seating located in the back of the RV (depending on the weight of the RV).
Some RV's that have lap-shoulder belts in the back seating (bench or dinette) are not required to meet Federal seat belt standard 208 (depending on RV Class). For RV's that have seat belts (lap belt or lap/shoulder belts) in the rear bench or dinette seating, be aware that while these are usually bolted into the floor of the vehicle or onto a steel frame that is then bolted into the floor of the vehicle, that during a crash, the wooden frame which holds the seats could break apart.” (source)
If you use the above subheading and put it in your search box, your results page should return a very large number of locations that sell seat belts for RVs. As we mentioned earlier, one of the better places to go will be your local auto parts store.
They should have a wide variety of seat belts in stock for you to choose from. The stores that advertise seat belts and that sell them have different lengths with different prices. The shorter ones can cost about $20 and the longer ones are selling for $55.l The models with shoulder straps reach $80.
Not to be outdone, Amazon lists a wide variety of seat belt options as well. Their prices range but remain for the most part under $100. There are many more options available to buy seat belts online.
It will just take some time to go through all the available outlets and see which one is on your route or near you. The question you have to answer is whether you want a regular seat belt or one with a shoulder strap.
Then, the usual criteria for what to look for will apply. Brand, quality construction, types of materials, and so on will all play a factor in your purchase.
RV makers will only install as many seat belts as they are required to install. These locations may not be ideal for your family situation. There are many factors involved when you install additional seat belts in your RV.
Make sure you know and understand them all and do not be afraid to get more information on this topic. Protecting your family when they are in your RV is your utmost responsibility.
Just make sure you do not have trouble with warranty, insurance, or the different laws. Check your route to make sure you can find all the state’s laws on this issue before you travel.