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Old 10-01-2003, 12:39 PM   #1
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Question Seatbelt Laws

After camping in our 1974 Overlander for ten years, we are considering purchasing a motorhome (Airstream of course). We have looked at several mid-80's units and I have a question about seatbelts.

Here in Michigan, all children are required to be belted in a moving vehicle. Yet, many of the MH's we've looked at do not have belts except for the front seats and the sofa. I can't see my kids all sitting on the sofa next to each other for hours at a time! Some of the MH's even have swivel chairs that are not anchored to the MH floor. Do the seatbelt laws being passed by many states exclude motorhomes?

I am also concerned about general safety. How expensive / difficult is it to add seatbelts if they do not exist? Right now we are VERY strict about the kids always being belted whilst in our conversion van. I would want to be just as strict in a motorhome even though I know the temptation and opportunity to move around is greater than in a van.

Any thoughts?
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Old 10-01-2003, 01:31 PM   #2
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In the later models of the MH (325, 345) there are seatbelts in the dinette as well as the barrel chairs. The barrel chairs that are bucket shaped (pre 82?) will not hold up to the stresses in an accident. I just pulled the upholstery off one and it is a hard foam material that is not very structural.

Seat belts can be added, but there are a few things to consider. Will the seat take the stress? Can I anchor the belt to the frame of the coach or just the plywood floor?

Belts have been added by some forum members. Belts are good. Most MH owners will admit moving around the coach while the coach is moving and my wife's favorite place to spend time while on the road it asleep in the bed. Is it safe, not really, but I think that some of it depends on where and when you do things. In town, on congested streets she is normally belted in and being my navigator. On open roads where I have trouble getting lost she feels safe enough to sleep.

You will get many different responses to this question. It has come up before. I would say the right answer is always wear the belt. What you do is up to you.
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Old 10-01-2003, 02:49 PM   #3
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I have an '81 28 footer MH. I want to have my kids belted always, so I make them ride on the sleeper sofa when driving in town. When out in the open, it's either in front passenger or sofa,
I plan on getting belts for the barrel chairs, even if for psychological satisfaction. They would be bolted through the floor. Also would like to add a middle belt to the sofa. Will be replacing the old belts up front with three point retractibles. Also was considering putting a couple on the twin beds, since they like to sleep when going home late at night, but may not be feasible. Heck, maybe even one for the toilet!
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Old 10-01-2003, 07:20 PM   #4
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Heck, maybe even one for the toilet!
Hahaha Now that's funny!


How about replacing the barrel chairs with some conversion van seats that have belts on them? You can get them that still turn.
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Old 10-01-2003, 07:28 PM   #5
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Yeah, but how do you get those to stay stuck to the floor, especially in a collision?
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Old 10-01-2003, 08:23 PM   #6
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If you look on Fred's site you can see the newer style chairs that go all the way to the floor. These have belts and are bolted to the floor. They lock and the frames are made of metal.

All of the bucket chairs will break loose or seperate if the stresses of an accident are applied. Also the bucket chairs do not lock so that creates another variable. I would think you would be safer being tossed about than being strapped to a disintgrating chair that is sitting on a 4 inch pedestal. Can you say ouch?

Just my opinion.
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