Safety and Legality of Side Facing Seats? (1 Viewer)

Red_48

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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?
 
Aug 2, 2017
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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.
 
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Nasher

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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

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Bailey58

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Not the answer to your query but would you put your kids in there and be happy, or the mother-in-law?
 

pappajohn

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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.
 
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Red_48

Red_48

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Thanks all

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Shiny Paul.

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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 !!!
 

pappajohn

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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 !!!
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.
 

grumps147

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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.

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klaatu

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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.
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.
 

Silver-Fox

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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.

Think you missed the two YOU'S in my post ;)

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pappajohn

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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.
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!
 

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