Do 5th wheels have seat belts? (21 states that require it

In this article, we are going to discuss: Do 5th wheels have seat belts? We will see which states require a seat belt, and where it is allowed not to have one. We also discuss the importance of having the seat belt on and whether you are allowed to travel in a 5th wheel anyway. 

Do 5th wheels have seat belts?

No, 5th wheels do not have seat belts pre-installed. The reasoning is simple, people are not supposed to ride in the back of a fifth wheel anyways. There are only 21 states in the US that allow people to stay in a 5th wheel trailer while it is on the move, which you can see in the table below. 

Most states require that seat belts be worn at all times in a moving vehicle. Every state requires an RV trailer that has to function properly, turn signals and brake lights, as well as a license light.

For safety reasons, many states require that fifth wheel RV owners travel with proper windshield wipers and a fire extinguisher, as well as accident equipment such as flares and road signs.

States that allow passengers to be in a 5th wheel trailer while it is on the move


State

Permission to ride in the back of a 5th Wheel
AlabamaNo
AlaskaNo
ArizonaYes
ArkansasNo
CaliforniaYes*
ColoradoNo
ConnecticutNo
DelawareNo
FloridaNo
GeorgiaNo
HawaiiNo
IdahoNo
IllinoisNo
IndianaYes
IowaYes
KansasYes (over 14)
KentuckyNo
LouisianaNo
MaineNo
MarylandYes
MassachusettsNo
MichiganYes
MinnesotaYes
MississippiYes
MissouriYes
MontanaYes
NebraskaYes
NevadaNo
New HampshireNo
New JerseyYes
New MexicoNo
New YorkYes
North CarolinaYes
North DakotaYes
OhioNo
OklahomaNo
OregonYes*
PennsylvaniaYes*
Rhode IslandNo
South CarolinaYes*
South DakotaYes*
TennesseeYes
TexasNo
UtahNo
VermontNo
VirginiaNo
WashingtonNo
West VirginiaYes
WisconsinYes*
WyomingNo

*Communications are required between the driver and any passengers travelling in the 5th wheel trailer.

Other questions you may be interested in

Can I tow a trailer behind my 5th wheel in California?

Do fifth wheels have a generator?

Do 5th wheels need safety chains?

5th wheel laws you must know about

There is a wide range of RV fifth wheel laws and they are all a bit different depending on the state. To find the exact information on what RV laws apply to your specific location, it is best to contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles office.

Dimension Laws. Each state has established rules on gross vehicle weight limits and axle weights. Furthermore, there are no rules on the length and width of the boundaries. Small RV fifth wheel owners usually don’t have to worry about size being a problem, however. But if you are driving a large fifth wheel, you may run into some trouble if RV laws are not carefully considered.

License Laws. Most RVs can be driven with a driver’s license. However, in some cases, for RV-sized larger fifth wheels, certain states may require a triple trailer license. Therefore, for those towing large fifth wheels, it is important to check the motorhome licensing laws to avoid fines or tickets.

Parking Laws. Certain states that have motorhome parking regulations. Some states do not allow overnight parking in certain rest areas, or there is a limit to how long the fifth wheel can be parked in certain areas. Every state varies when it comes to RV parking laws.

Can you add seat belts to a 5th wheel?

Yes, it is possible to add seat belts to a 5th wheel, 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.

6 reasons to ALWAYS wear a seat belt in a 5th wheel

To further understand the importance of the seat belt, it is necessary to know two of the impacts that can occur in an accident: the first is the crash or collision as such, and the second is produced as a reaction, which is the crash of vehicle occupants with the windshield glass, and even outside the vehicle. It is this second impact that causes injury or even death.

  • Prevents the body from hitting the vehicle frame. An impact against an element inside the vehicle at a speed of 50km/h is equivalent to the intensity that a hit with the ground would have after falling from a height of 20 meters.
  • Avoid being thrown out of the vehicle. The belt immobilizes the occupant of a car in the seat for the duration of the accident, minimizing physical damage after the accident.
  • Avoid fines. The use of the seat belt is mandatory by law. In addition to avoiding the corresponding fine in case of not using it, it can avoid a greater tragedy.
  • It reduces the risk of death in one of every two accidents. By preventing the body from being thrown out in the event of an impact, it reduces the risk of a fatal accident by 50%.
  • Keeps the user in a correct driving position. The driving position is key due to the ability to react to the driver in the event of any unforeseen event.

The bottom line

Seat belts are the number one safety device in vehicles. Not wearing a seat belt can be fatal, even on short trips and at low speeds. Before hitting the road, make sure your state allows passengers in the back of a 5th wheel. 

If you have any questions or comments about this article, please let us know!

FAQ on Do 5th wheels have seat belts?

Are seat belts mandatory for all campers?

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 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. 

References