Safety and Legality of Side Facing Seats?

Discussion in 'Self-Build Motorhomes' started by Red_48, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Red_48

    Red_48 Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2018
    Messages:
    32
    Ratings:
    +7
    My 2013 Sprinter came with a forward facing Mercedes double passenger bench seat fitted behind the cab. The vehicle is registered with DVLA as having 5 seats, all 5 with working 3 point belts.

    I’m considering mounting the bench seat lengthwise along the side of the van but want to make sure there are no legal restrictions or safety concerns with lap and cross body belts.

    Can anyone advise?
     
  2. DaveandJen

    DaveandJen Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2017
    Messages:
    362
    Location:
    South Kent Coast.
    Ratings:
    +460
    I'm not an expert in this matter but if approved with forward facing seats and seatbelts - no way would mounting the bench seat lengthwise be acceptable. The seatbelts would be mounted sideways for a start.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
    • Like it Like it x 1
    • Nice One! Nice One! x 1
  3. Nasher

    Nasher Funster

    Joined:
    May 6, 2016
    Messages:
    744
    Location:
    Pontardawe
    Ratings:
    +2,318
    I'm no expert either, but:

    As far as I am aware, there is not a legal restriction for a VAN, but from a safety point of view the seat belts would be totally ineffective in most collisions - so for me it would be a NO don't do it

    For a motor caravans after 2007 you can not have side facing seats - so it's another NO
     
    • Like it Like it x 2
  4. Bailey58

    Bailey58 Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Messages:
    7,462
    Location:
    Norfolk and Toftir.
    Ratings:
    +17,066
    Not the answer to your query but would you put your kids in there and be happy, or the mother-in-law?
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  5. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    34,609
    Location:
    YO11 2BD
    Ratings:
    +32,119
    In a severe frontal impact a side facing seat offers little support.
    A belt will possible cause more bodily damage than it could ever prevent.
    The shoulder strap would cause severe, possibly life threatening, injuries to one side of your neck or you would simply slip out of it from the other depending if it was left or right.
    The lap belt would cause severe hip and pelvic injuries as you slide sideways at many times your body weight (G forces).
    Seat belts are designed to hold back your whole upper body from the front, not bits of it from the side.
     
    • Like it Like it x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Nice One! Nice One! x 1
  6. Red_48

    Red_48 Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2018
    Messages:
    32
    Ratings:
    +7
    Thanks all
     
  7. Shiny Paul.

    Shiny Paul. Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2017
    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    Thaxted, Essex.
    Ratings:
    +49
    When I built my racevan i was told by law side facing seats are ok and DO not need seatbelts, but strangely if you have a dog in the van it must have a seatbelt on !!!
     
  8. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    34,609
    Location:
    YO11 2BD
    Ratings:
    +32,119
    Maybe so, but DVLA also stipulate how many travel seats you have and DVLA will never class a side facing seat in a Motorhome as a travel seat.

    Can you post a link to either regulation.
     
  9. grumps147

    grumps147 Funster

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,413
    Location:
    St.Helens
    Ratings:
    +1,673
    Fastest ever solution for you, sorry, but ask your insurance company what effect the changes to the construction of your type approved motorhome will have on insurance and premiums.
     
    • Like it Like it x 1
  10. Silver-Fox

    Silver-Fox Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2014
    Messages:
    4,008
    Location:
    Cheltenham Spa
    Ratings:
    +10,426
    A dog doesn't have to be restrained but if you have an accident blame may be laid at the dog and you for driving without due care i believe.
     
  11. klaatu

    klaatu Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2013
    Messages:
    1,275
    Location:
    Vienne, France
    Ratings:
    +2,072
    What would the likely penalty be for the dog for driving without due care? On the occasions when I let the dog drive, I sometimes think she is a better driver than I am, which irks somewhat.
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
  12. Silver-Fox

    Silver-Fox Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2014
    Messages:
    4,008
    Location:
    Cheltenham Spa
    Ratings:
    +10,426
    Think you missed the two YOU'S in my post ;)
     
    • Like it Like it x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  13. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    34,609
    Location:
    YO11 2BD
    Ratings:
    +32,119
    Unfortunately rule 57 of the seatbelt section of the highway code says it does.
    Not tethered to an immovable object but restrained from becoming a distraction in normal driving and a ballistic missile in an accident.
    Could be in a dog cage or behind a dog guard.

    Ex-partners mum used to drive with one yorky terrier on her lap and one round her shoulders like a scarf... Mad!
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice