Can you add seat belts to a motorhome? (a guide)

In this article, we will answer the following question: Can you add seat belts to a motorhome? We will explain how to add seat belts to a motorhome, which states require you to wear a seatbelt and how the seat belt can save your life. 

Can you add seat belts to a motorhome?

Yes, it is possible to add seat belts to a motorhome, however, this won’t be an easy job, as most seat belts have to be designed in the skeleton of the RV. 

Here’s how to add the seat belts to a motorhome:

  1. If it is a “classic” belt, which aims to immobilize in case of impact, it has three attachment points. In the case of a motorhome bench not initially provided for this purpose, a vertical bracket must be added in the middle of the bench. This leads to a modification of the structure making the exercise quite “complicated”.
  1. If you own an “old” motorhome or just want to add a three-point seat belt to your motorhome, the advice we can give you is “don’t do it yourself“. Ask a mechanic who can give you an estimate and comply with the regulations for a seatbelt in motorhomes.
  1. It is possible that some mechanics will not agree to add a motorhome seat belt, given the burden of responsibility that this implies. Motorhomes have a special seat belt mechanism, which it is important to master perfectly before embarking on the addition of a new seat belt.

Adding seat belts to a motorhome: The problem of technical control

During the technical control, if a motorhome has four seats fitted with seat belts but its registration card only mentions three, it is reset automatically, whether the place is used or not. 

This problem occurs when the campsite has been designed on a carrier approved in 3.75 tonnes, for four people: when switching to 3.5 tonnes, the reduction in load leads to the loss of a place on the registration card. In another scenario, if the 3.5-ton motorhome has been designed for 4 people, but following the installation of coupling, the new homologation of the vehicle leads to the loss of a place.

This problem is considered to be a “major” failure, with the following title: “Exceeding the number of authorized seats, additional seats not indicated on the identification document.” And the owner has two months to present the check-back vehicle with one belt and one anchorless.

In addition, if the additional unapproved place is used, it is considered a traffic violation and is punishable by a fixed fine of $145 with the loss of three license points.

The concern which arises during the technical control is that one generally finds a double anchor which one cannot remove without removing the two belts at the same time. 

Do you have to wear a seat belt in the motorhome?

The obligation to fit belts in the rear seats dates from 1992. If the vehicle is registered before that date and homologated without installation of seat belts, it is not necessary to put them on, although it is not recommended. 

We understand that when you say that you bought the new motorhome, it is that it was registered in the same year of purchase (1995). Your vehicle classified 3200 is an unspecified motorhome with a GVW of less than 3500 kilos. 

Previously, it had been recognized as a home. It is considered a special M1 class vehicle for the purposes of technical inspection and for that reason, all passengers travelling in favour of the march must wear a belt since June 1992 if it is assimilated to tourism or since July 1994 if it is considered a special vehicle (in any case, prior to 1995).

It seems obvious, we find ourselves in configuration “as in the car” and by going up we automatically engage the belt. In addition, beyond the fine in the event of a control, for your safety and that of others, remain comfortably seated, with your seatbelt on and take regular breaks to have a pleasant journey aboard your “rolling home”.

So the answer is YES we must wear a seat belt in a motorhome.

As seen previously, and for obvious safety reasons, it is forbidden to walk, sleep or use the toilets when the vehicle is moving.

But for the seats around the dinette table of the motorhome, do you have to wear your seat belt?

The answer is YES it is compulsory to wear a seat belt at the back of the motorhome.

In addition, children under 10 must have an approved system adapted to their morphology. It is important to remember that during a shock at 50km / h, the thrust is such that a 20kg child turns into a half-ton projectile if it is not attached.

So for your safety and that of others, make sure that the passengers in the back are always buckled up with an approved seat belt.

What states require you to wear a seat belt in the motorhome?

In the table below, you can see which states require wearing a seatbelt at all times while the RV is moving, and in which states you can move more freely in the motorhome. 

StatePrimary LawSecondary LawNo Law
District of ColumbiaX
New HampshireX
New JerseyX
New MexicoX
New YorkX
North CarolinaX
North DakotaX
Rhode IslandX
South CarolinaX
South DakotaX
West VirginiaX

Why you should always wear a seat belt in a motorhome 

To understand why the belt is so important, we simply need to talk a bit about physics, specifically, inertia.

Inertia is the tendency of a body to keep moving until some force exerts action on it.

In terms of travelling by RV, think of it this way: if the RV is going 75 mph everything inside the car also goes 75mph. Then, in an accident, where the vehicle stops unexpectedly, everything that was inside it keeps moving at that speed until it encounters an action.

Do you understand the seriousness of the matter?

If you are not wearing a belt, you are the body travelling at 75mph until action is exerted against you.

That something, usually, is the dashboard of the car or the windshield, and in the second case, it is not enough to stop you.

The belt, especially the three-point belt, uses physics to slow down our body in its most rigid parts.

In this way, although we may not escape unscathed, the belt does drastically reduce the damage to which we are exposed.

FAQ on Can you add seat belts to a motorhome?

Are seat belts mandatory in motorhomes?

Seat belts are only compulsory for the forward-facing seats and not for the side benches, which is why there are none. In the event of an impact, you are not thrown forward but tilted sideways against the backrest of the passenger seat.

How to install a child seat in a motorhome?

In a motorhome, children or adults passengers are transported as in a car. In other words, everyone has a seat and attaches, either in the restraint device adapted to their morphology, for the youngest or by buckling the belt alone, for the older ones (never before 1.35 m

How to put on seat belts?

To put on seat belts, pull the belt around you and hook it up. The wider it is, the more we try to structure it with a wide belt. You can either hang it in a classic way or tie it around the waist, like a ribbon.

Can you use the microwave in an RV while driving?

The general rule is that you shouldn’t use the microwave in an RV while driving. Doing so would imply that you are not seated in a chair with the seatbelt on. While it is true that not all 50 states prohibit walking in a motorhome while it is moving, we would recommend you to stay safe and wear a seatbelt all the time the vehicle is moving.


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