Motorhome Seatbelt Law in the UK

As a motorhome driver, are you familiar with all the motorhome seatbelt laws in the UK? If you aren’t, it might be time for a refresher.

Or are you a car driver with your sights set on your first motorhome? If so, it is also essential that you are familiar with seatbelt laws in the larger vehicle.

In this guide, we summarise ‘need to knows’ on motorhome seatbelt laws -  from who needs to wear a seatbelt in your motorhome, to the rules for keeping buckled up in the living areas of motorhomes, child seatbelt laws, and some other key considerations to help you stay on the right side of the law. 

Who needs to wear a seatbelt in your motorhome?

-          If your motorhome was manufactured after 2006, you must identify the seats which you have designated as travel seats. Your motorhome must have seatbelts for all designated travel seats throughout the vehicle, and passengers are required to use them while the motorhome is in transit. Only the driver and the specified passenger seats require three-point seatbelts. The rest of the designated travel seats must have at least two point seatbelts. Side facing seats cannot be designated as travel seats.

-          If your motorhome was manufactured after 1st October 1988, it must have seat belts fitted for the driver, as well as any forward-facing passengers. These seatbelts must be worn when the motorhome is in transit. Seatbelts for the driver and designated passenger must be three-point belts. Other belts fitted in the vehicle are permitted to be two or three-point belts.

-          If your motorhome was manufactured before 1st October 1988, it must have seatbelts for the driver and a designated passenger in the front. It is not necessarily illegal for a rear seat passenger not to wear a seatbelt. However, the police could deem not wearing a seatbelt in the rear of the vehicle to be an offence if the motorhome is being driven at high speeds.

-          Although not illegal, the government does not recommend using side facing seats in the rear while a motorhome is in transit. In the event of an accident, seatbelts might actually increase injury risk if there is a frontal collision. This is research which is cited by the EU Parliament.

Child seatbelt laws

Child seats, including those with restraints, must be used with three-point seat belts. Laws related to child car seats are classified as such according to the height of the child. In normal circumstances, children are required to use a child seat until they reach a height of 4ft 4”, or reach the age of 12. Some child seat systems might come with additional instructions - it is important that these are complied with.

Which child seat do I need in my motorhome?

The most recent laws introduced on child safety in motor vehicles categorise child seats according to the weight of the child. The categories of child seats are as follows:

Group 0+ - Children up to 13kg: A carrier with a harness, or a baby seat which is rear facing,.

Group 1 - Children from 9kg to 18kg: A forward facing or rear facing baby seat, which uses a harness or safety shield.

Group 2 - Children from 15kg to 25kg: A high-backed booster child seat or booster-cushioned child seat that can be forward facing or rear facing, which uses a harness or safety shield.

Group 3 – Children from 22kg to 36kg: A high-backed booster child seat or booster-cushioned child seat that can be forward facing or rear facing, which uses a harness or safety shield.

You should note –

·         Child seats should display the code ECE R44. If this code is not displayed, the seat cannot be used legally in the UK.

·         If placing a baby seat on a front passenger seat, you must deactivate the airbag first.

 

Motorhome seatbelts - other considerations

Now for some final reminders which are worth bearing in mind, how ever, experienced you are as a motorhome driver:

-          Motorhome seatbelts have been developed using crash tests, and are specifically designed by motorhome manufacturers to reduce and prevent impact injuries.

-          As the driver of a motorhome, ultimately it is your responsibility to ensure that your vehicle is safe for all passengers before you begin a journey.

-          When reversing or driving a vehicle related to an emergency, the law does not require you to wear a seatbelt.

-          There is the possibility of gaining a medical exemption to wearing a seatbelt in a motorhome. This requires a certificate from your GP.

-          If you have seatbelts fitted on side facing seats, you could theoretically be prosecuted if your passengers are considered to be travelling dangerously.

-          If you have modified your motorhome from its original design, and have made substantial changes including the addition of seats, you should notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) of this increase. 

-          If you aren’t sure that your motorhome’s seats have been manufactured to European regulations, check that the company is approved by the National Caravan Council (NCC) and recognises International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards.

Want to know more?

You can find additional guidance from the government’s Department for Transport here.

The Caravan and Motorhome Club offer motorhome courses which include a module on laws affecting motorhome drivers. Read more information here.

Salop Leisure is the Midlands’ choice for a wide range of new motorhomes and used motorhomes for sale. The design of all Salop Leisure’s models, including the fitting of seatbelts, adheres to European standards.