laws on side faceing seats

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Jock Mcdee, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. Jock Mcdee

    Jock Mcdee Read Only Funster

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    :BigGrin:Hi Every one,
    i,ve got a roller team 400 it,s a 5 berth 4 seat belts,, i bought it about 2yr ago, it has a side faceing seat behind the driver seat, when i bought it the sales guy said by law if the motor home was built before may 2009 which mines was, it was ok to travel with some one sitting on the side faceing seat,so that meant traveling with no seat belt, also he said it was agaist the law to have a seat belt on a side faceing seat, i have had a few discussions with folk on this and its been a mixed few, can ayone put me straight on this,,
    Cheers John:BigGrin:
     
  2. Northerner

    Northerner Read Only Funster

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    The law aside, the biggest problem may well be the insurance should you have an accident. If a passenger is injured because he or she wasn't securely fastened you could find yourself on the wrong end of a law suit.

    I believe that it is legal to carry a passenger on your side-facing seat but as I said, that's the least of the problems. I did not realise that it is illegal to fit a seat belt on such a seat but the reality is that it wouldn't do much good in a head-on smash, as it probably would not stop the passenger being thrown towards the front of the 'van and, if he was wearing a belt you may get some kind of sideways whiplash, if you see what I mean, which could be worse than conventional whiplash.

    My advice would be to only carry passengers in the legal, already-belted seats.
     
  3. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi Jock the sales guy gave you correct info for your van - the only seatbelt allowed on side facing are lap-belts but they are not needed.:thumb:
    :Rofl1: Someone will be along to post a link on seatbelts to confuse you more :Rofl1:
    terry
     
  4. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Load of b-----ks

    terry
     
  5. slobadoberbob

    slobadoberbob Read Only Funster

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    no not going to do it


    It is still Christmas Terry.. not going to do it... the legal department is not working until after the new year.

    Bob:Blush:
     
  6. Bailey58

    Bailey58 Funster Life Member

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    Whatever the legal position the defining answer is your own conscience. Would you be happy carrying a friend, relative or a grandchild in an unbelted seat? :Eek!:
     
  7. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    The sales person gave you the legal gist of it. except for.,....

    If the van has fitted seat belts then they should be used..,,, now that is confusing.:RollEyes:


    Never heard of it being illigal to fit belts on a side seat, but I suppose they would never actually be fit for purpose.

    As in response to Northerner, I wont go along the Terry route :Blush: but would say this,,,, even bob would struggle to argue for that one, but, if you were injured when not in an available belted seat, the payout you would get would be significantly less than what you would of got if you had of been,,,,, (i think thats right bob).

    a friend of mine went up the back of someone whom was not wearing a seat belt and he got less money for his injuries because there was some negligence on his part for not wearing one.
     
  8. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    :BigGrin: I WILL TRY TO MAKE MY POINT A LITTLE CLEARER - Pre 2007/9-if your van only has 2 seatbelts fitted (front driver and passenger ) yet it is a 5 berth fitted with side seats. It is perfectly legal to carry the extra 3 passengers in the legal side seats.No insurance company is going to argue that because you do not have belts fitted you cannot carry the said 3 unbelted passengers, because that is clearly not the case ( 5 berth van ) or in Jocks case 4 belted seats but 5 berth so 1 clearly can travel without the belt :thumb: on the side facing seat.This would clearly end up on the Manufacturers toes ie although legal to carry five why produce a van with only 4 seatbelts :Eeek:Now since 2007/9 the people who be gave a little time to be safe :Rofl1:the law is clear only people with belts can travel therefore if you only have 4 belts you can only carry 4 so your 5 breth is only for a non travelling guest :thumb:This applies to all vans made after 2009 :thumb:
    Just to stir the muddy waters a little rear facing seats have never needed belts :Doh::Doh::BigGrin:
    Will have to look that up in case some boffin decided to include that in the new laws :Rofl1: because I do not think ( if I remember right ) no mention on them - but I could be wrong on that point -
    Jock if you have a rear facing dinette seat stick the odd passenger in that :thumb:
    terry
     
  9. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    I agree with your comments Paul but surely that only applies if the belt was available and they decided NOT to use it.:Eek!: we are talking about no belts available or required by law so as such there should be no discrimination on the said size of any payout :Rofl1:
    Again if you retro fitted lap-belts in an attempt to make your passenger more secure are you more guilty (less pay out ) than the person who made no effort ?:Doh::BigGrin:
    The reasoning behind only lap belts fitted to side facing seats is that a 3 point belt can break the neck :Eeek:
    terry
     
  10. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    and so am I, but obviously not very clearly.:Rofl1: he did not have his belt on.

    So, to say again, if you have belts fitted you must use them, because if you have a crash, you are not in a belted seat, there is a belted seat available, you make a claim, you WOULD receive less money for contributing to your injury....... that was answering Northerners post.....

    what intrigues me about the OP question is the bit that refers to fitting a lap belt to be illigal? can't see that being the case? I mean what if I wanted to fit one for my dog or best china? I know they are useless but Illigal? Bob ,,, Bob,,,,, come in Bob :shout:

    Another thing,,
    my van is a 7 berth but only enough seats with belts for 4...... How many can I carry in the van? by my reckoning I could get at least 10-15 Calais Campers in but would it be legal? if of course they all had passports?


    To Jock,,
    as I said earlier, I believe your sales person to be correct.:thumb:
     
  11. Northerner

    Northerner Read Only Funster

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    Thank you for that polite and reasoned reply! Here's my view on it.

    A driver owes a duty of care to his passengers. If he carries an unbelted passenger on a side-facing seat and there is a major accident causing the unbelted passenger to hurl forward and seriously injure the person sitting in front of him in the main passenger seat, he opens himself up to a law suit. It could be argued that, in the event of an accident, this was totally foreseeable. I can assure you that, in this litigious age, lawyers would jump at the chance of a multi-million pound payout from an insurance company.

    I can also assure you that if you were that front seat passenger and seriously injured and possible even paralysed from a broken neck, that you would be very much in favour of the action.

    Whatever the law says about not necessarily having to fit seat belts to side-facing motor-home seats, the driver must still balance the risk of allowing anyone to use them when driving. Personally, I wouldn't take the chance.

    As I said, that's just my opinion taken from Internet searches and I would welcome a proper legal view.
     
  12. lugnutt

    lugnutt Funster Life Member

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    May i ask how many of you have told half of your family they cannot come on holiday,as there are not enough seat belts to go round due to side facing seats?It is ok for those of you with just 2 or 3 passengers.
    My RV is an 8 berth and was manufactured to carry that amount of people my log book says number of seats 10,it was also manufactured to have fridge on gas while traveling,same for the generator .
    If I was to listen to the comments I read my RV would never move off the drive due to the do gooders health and safety and insurance experts and the scaremongering.As I said my motorhome was built for the larger family,1992 RV 8 berth with driver and passenger seat and 1 side seat.
    My concience did prick me 1 year when I had to fly half the family out to south of France at enormous cost but never again .
     
  13. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi Northener until a case came to court it would be just like yours and my view of things - JUST AN OPINION- Mine is still as the law says it is not illegal to carry passengers in side facing seats ( pre 2009 ) not belted. I am not saying to go overboard on the subject ie I could carry probably 8 unbelted - 2 x 6 ft 6 ins side seats - even in my op that is taking the pee :Rofl1: EVEN red robed judges get it wrong sometimes :Eeek::Doh::Wink:
    Another question comes to mind are side facing seats considered travel seats ???????
    :Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:
    We will have to wait until the new year for judge Bobs opinion :BigGrin:- give him plenty of time to look up the facts / law :RollEyes::Wink:
    terry
     
  14. rainbow chasers

    rainbow chasers Read Only Funster

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    You say you have 4 belts. I presume the hab ones are in the dinette forward facing seats.

    Rearward facing do not require belts, as forward impact would only push them further back into the seat - so the seat itself restrains any forward motion.

    Side facing seats don't have belts as 1. They are useless as belts only stop forward motion, not sideward motion 2. They will twist the torso and cause serious injury - so better without.

    You are permitted ONE person, seated directly behind the front seat back. The front seat will halt forward momentum from the person sat directly behind.:thumb:
     
  15. Northerner

    Northerner Read Only Funster

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    It will only push your lower body into the seat backs. If there are no head restraints you will suffer a particularly violent whiplash injury, depending of course on the speed and type of impact.

    If the seat in question is a high seat, like a cab, I agree with you, but most aren't.
     
  16. oldun

    oldun Read Only Funster

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    How would a seat belt protect a person sitting in a sideways facing seat? It would put a severe strain on the side of their body which faced forward.

    A seat belt is designed to stop the person MOVING FORWARD not sideways.

    My insurance asked me how many road seats have seat belts. I have yet to question then on the usage of this information.
     
  17. oldun

    oldun Read Only Funster

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    That's fine but if one of the unbelted passengers gets severely injured in an accident I hope you will hold up your hand and say that you take full responsibility.

    As said before if you are happy to risk the lives of half of your family then go ahead and bury your head in the sand.

    The real problem is that you bought a vehicle totally unsuitable for the purpose.
     
  18. JockandRita

    JockandRita Funster Life Member

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    Hi all,

    I made several enquiries myself on the matter, as our 1999 MH is a 5 berth, but with only 3 x belted, forward facing seats. The seating for the other two passengers is a side facing settee.
    At the time of production, this belted/unbelted seating layout was legal under the terms of Vehicle Construction and Use. This means that the vehicle WAS MOST DEFINITELY NOT totally unsuitable for the purpose, nor was Lugnutt's RV (under US laws, and UK Vehicle Importation Rules and Regs.)

    The reason that seat belts cannot be fitted retrospectively to the side facing seats of our MH, is because there weren't any proper seat belt anchorage points, installed at the time of manufacture (not required), and therefore, there is not a suitable structure with with to attach anchorage points retrospectively.

    Cambridgeshire Police Force's Traffic Department have informed me that the laws and rules in force at the time of construction, are those which apply to the current vehicle, and new laws/rules recently introduced are not retrospective.
    I then spoke to a senior vehicle inspector with VOSA, about the new rule, where all seats to the rear of front belted seats, must be fitted with seat belts. He informed me that again, this was not retrospective, and only applied to those vehicles built and constructed after the new ruling was introduced.

    So, we have a 5 berth MH, in which we can carry a total of five occupants (including the driver), quite legally, despite there only being 3 x seat belts fitted.

    BTW, would it shock you to know that until very recently, I was driving daily, a 74 seater double decker bus full of school children, with no seatbelts fitted at all..............quite legally.
    Another single decked bus in the same depot has side facing seats, again without seat belts fitted............quite legally.

    Regards,

    Jock. (not McDee :Wink:)
     
  19. Squire

    Squire Read Only Funster

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    A few years ago a close friend of mine got shunted off a new Spanish motorway that, although just officially opened not yet had the crash barriers fitted. His 12 month old twin axle Hymer nose dived into a deep gulley. Although a staunch advocate of seat belts and would normally refuse to move any of his several vehicles unless every occupant was belted, in this case for the first time in memory he and his wife had not belted in because he was only repositioning his van 1 Km down the road.

    He and his wife were thrown through the windscreen aperture onto the remains of the windscreen that had preceded them - the Hymer somersaulted over the top of them leaving them lying on the far bank of the gulley and proceeded to roll down the gulley totally demolishing itself. Nothing was left but a bare chassis with two flattened cab seats and, strangely, the fridge. Otherwise the caravan floor was totally devoid of furniture - even the floor safe had been torn off.

    He suffered a minor laceration to his leg and was not detained overnight.
    His wife suffered a damaged spleen and various bruised internal organs, mainly caused by the (full) fresh water tank catching her a glancing blow from behind as it vacated the van with her, and was in hospital for a week, eventually having to have a local anesthetic to remove a splinter of glass from her wrist that was touching a nerve.

    They would both have definitely been killed had they been wearing their seat belts.

    The moral of the story is 'you can't choose the type of accident you're going to have'. In certain circumstances seat belts can kill !
     
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