Things You Need To Know About RV Seat Belt Laws

Leah

There are a lot of exciting parts of planning an RV road trip! Where to go … what to see … who to travel with … but you don’t want to neglect one of the most important parts of any road travel – your own safety and that of your passengers.

RV Seat Belt Laws

Seat belt laws vary widely from state to state, which can make things complicated if you’re traveling through several states or across the country. The easiest thing to do is abide by the state with the strictest laws, and then you’ll know you’re in good shape regardless of where you travel. With regard to RV seat belt laws, you can sit anywhere in your rig, however, that does not mean that all areas of an RV are the safest to ride. Most importantly, the general consensus is to definitely strap in somewhere, as that is a safer alternative than not being strapped in at all.

a colorful map of the United States

RV Seat Belt Laws by State

All states now require the passengers and driver in the front of an RV to buckle up. New Hampshire does exempt models from 1968 or older, but everyone else up front needs to buckle up! Although it’s not a requirement in each of those states that the people in the back buckle up, it is certainly the safest way to travel!

a woman buckling her seat belt

The following states also require passengers besides those in the front to buckle up:

Alabama: Those in the back seat are not required, but remember to be smart and safe while traveling

Alaska: All passengers in the vehicle are required to wear a seat belt

Arizona: Children under 15 need to wear a seat belt in the back seats

Arkansas: All passengers in the vehicle are required to wear a seat belt

California: All passengers in the vehicle are required to wear a seat belt

Colorado: All passengers in the vehicle are required to wear a seat belt

Connecticut: Passengers in back seats who are under 16 are required to buckle up

Delaware: Every passenger in the vehicle must wear a seat belt

Florida: Passengers in the back who are under 18 are required to buckle up

Georgia: Passengers in the back under 18 are required to wear seat belts

Hawaii: Everyone in the vehicle is required to buckle up

Idaho: Everyone in an RV must wear a seat belt, but vehicles over 8,000 pounds are exempt from the rule

Illinois: All passengers 15 and under are required to wear seat belts in the back of a motorhome

Indiana: Backseat riders can sit without seatbelts while the vehicle is on the road

Iowa: All passengers (and the driver, of course!) must wear a seat belt when riding in an RV

Kansas: Children under 14 needs to have a seat belt when riding in the back of an RV

Kentucky: Everyone is required to wear a seat belt when the RV is moving

Louisiana: Children under 12 are required to buckle up in the back seats of an RV

Maine: Everyone in the RV is required to wear a seat belt

Maryland: Adults in the backseat do not have to be buckled, but children should still be in seatbelts

Massachusetts: Everyone in the RV is required to wear a seat belt

Michigan: Children riding in the back who are under 15 are required to buckle up

Minnesota: Children ten and under are required to wear a seat belt in the back seats

Mississippi: Children ten and under are required to wear a seat belt in the back seats

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

North Dakota: Children under 17 are required to wear seat belts in the back seats

Ohio: Only front seat riders need to buckle up, but it’s still safer to be buckled in regardless of where you’re sitting

Oklahoma: Children 12 and under are required to wear seat belts in the back seats

Oregon: Everyone is required to wear a seat belt in a moving RV

Pennsylvania: Children under 18 are required to wear seat belts in the back seats

Rhode Island: Everyone is required to wear a seat belt in a moving RV

South Carolina: Everyone is required to wear a seat belt in a moving RV

Tennessee: Children under 16 are required to wear seat belts in the back seats

Texas: Children 17 and under are required to wear seat belts in the back seats

Utah: Everyone is required to wear a seat belt in a moving RV

Vermont: Everyone is required to wear a seat belt in a moving RV

Virginia: Children 16 and under are required to wear seat belts in the back seats

Washington: Everyone is required to wear a seat belt in a moving RV

West Virginia: Children 17 and under are required to wear seat belts in the back seats

Wisconsin: Children 15 and under are required to wear seat belts in the back seats

Wyoming: Everyone is required to wear a seat belt in a moving RV

an RV driving past a green meadow with hills beyond

RV Seat Belt Requirements for Minors

As noted above, many RV seat belt requirements are based on the age of the children in your vehicle. Make sure that each child is properly restrained according to state laws, and younger children should be in carseats.

If you intend to carry children in your RV, always remember that child safety restraint systems should never be used in any rear-facing or bench-like seating. Here are more tips on traveling with a carseat in your RV.

Although the above lists the laws for children wearing seat belts in each state, the safest practice is to have everyone buckle up when your RV is in use. Seat belt laws represent the bare minimum of safety standards and are sometimes influenced by things like whether legislators think they can enforce these laws, and how willing people will be to follow them. Safety is only one of their considerations when passing the laws.

Alternatives for keeping your children safe

There are a few other ideas to keep your children safe while you travel.

  • Choose a non-motorized tow-able like a teardrop camper or fifth-wheel trailer, as this is safer than a coach. Children can be restrained properly in the passenger vehicle that is towing the RV.
  • If using a coach, drive a second car for the children to ride in, so that the children are restrained properly. This has the added bonus of giving you a vehicle to travel around your destination once you’ve set up your motorhome.
  • Have custom seats built into your RV that meet federal seat belt standards, for strapping your children in.

a motorhome headed towards snowy mountains

RV seat belt standards according to Class of RV

Whether you have a Class A, Class C, or Class B RV, keep in mind that, manufacturers are ONLY required to comply with seat belt standards for the front passengers, not any rear occupants that may be traveling in the rig.

False sense of security

Many RV seats have lap belts in the dining section of the RV. Though these seat belts are usually bolted to the floor, the biggest concern with these belts is that the wooden seat structure, on which the passenger is sitting, will fail and cause injury, in the event of an accident. Furniture and appliances all around the RV can also fall over the passenger trapped in the seating.

Remember sideways seats are not designated travel seats. Front-facing seats are the safest to travel in. Also, keep in mind that each manufacturer has different ways of testing their seat belts and there are no defined industry standards for these tests.

With a little research, you can be sure that you’re complying with the state laws for seatbelts and safe RV travel in each state!

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