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Do RVers Need to Wear a Seat Belt?

Ditching your RV seat belt feels tempting. After all, RVs aren’t like regular cars. Wouldn’t it be nice to stretch your legs or get a nap while someone else takes the wheel?

As relaxing as it sounds, riding in an RV without a seat belt is extremely dangerous. It’s even illegal in some parts of the country.

Ready to learn how to keep yourself and your passengers safe? Let’s dig in!

What Are The RV Seat Belt Laws in America?

Laws vary from one place to the next, and RV seat belt laws are no exception. Every state in the U.S. has its own rules for safety belts. You should follow the laws specific to your location when traveling between them.

No matter where you registered your vehicle, the “law of the land” has the final say.

Despite each state having unique laws, most have one rule in common. The majority require all passengers to wear a safety belt when riding in the cab. Delaware has stricter rules than the rest of the country, requiring belts for every passenger regardless of location.

However, sitting unbuckled while in motion in other areas, such as the dinette, is okay in some places. 

The Benefits of Wearing a Seat Belt

Wearing a seat belt might seem like a chore, especially when driving in rural or remote areas. But the truth is, these belts save thousands of lives every year.

Seat belts work by keeping your body restrained during a sudden collision. You might suffer spinal cord or head injuries, broken bones, or even be ejected from your RV without one. Safety straps also prevent injuries from airbags, which pose a threat to unrestrained passengers.

When you look at the stats, there’s no reason not to buckle up. Fifty-one percent of people who died in auto accidents in 2020 weren’t wearing safety straps. But on the bright side, they’re more popular now than ever. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, a whopping 91.6% of drivers buckled up in 2022.

Pro Tip: Are you guilty of doing any of these 5 Accidental Crimes RVers Commit?

Putting on seatbelt
Always wear a seatbelt when driving your RV.

Can You Walk Around an RV While Driving?

Walking around your RV while it’s in motion may sound fun. But depending on your location and rig style, it could be illegal.

Riding inside a fifth wheel, travel trailer, or other pull-behind camper is illegal everywhere in the U.S. These RVs aren’t safe for passengers and extremely dangerous for riding. Imagine being inside a pull-behind camper without your straps on when the driver hits the brakes. You’d go flying!

You have a little more freedom in Class A, B, or C motorhomes. These RVs have seat belts, are built for riding passengers, and have many more safety features than pull-behind campers.

However, it’s illegal to walk around while the vehicle is moving. You should sit anytime the RV is in motion. And even if you’re in a state without seat belt laws, stay buckled in until you’re ready to pull over.

Can You Sleep in an RV While Driving?

So it’s against the law to walk around your RV while driving. But what about sleeping?

There’s nothing wrong with napping inside your Class A, B, or C motorhome while in motion. But there’s one big caveat: you need to stay sitting.

In most cases, lying down without a seat belt in a moving RV is illegal, like moving around while the rig is in motion. Some states only require that you sleep in an upright position. But others also require that you wear a safety strap while sleeping.

It may be tempting to treat your motorhome like a regular house while you’re driving. But remember, the statistics don’t lie. Using your RV seat belts is so much safer.

Do All RVs Have Seat Belts? 

All Class A, B, and C motorhomes have seat belts. But the number and location of these safety features vary from class to class.

Class A RVs usually contain sofas, dining benches, and other spots to sit in addition to the normal buckets. Nearly all of these come with seat belts.

While Class B and C RVs may also have these, they aren’t standard or required. Federal standards only require that class B and C vehicles have the driver and front passenger straps.

The rules are totally different for fifth wheels, travel trailers, and pull-behind campers. Since these models don’t have safety features for passengers, they aren’t suitable to ride in. A few models may contain straps, but the majority don’t.

Close up of seatbelt buckle
All motorhomes are required to have seatbelts for drivers and passengers.

Where Do You Put The Car Seat in an RV?

Traveling with kids is a blast. But if your kiddos are seven years old or younger, they probably need a car or booster seat.

Like regular autos, most RVs accommodate these with a proper setup. Booster, top tether anchor, and LATCH-style units all attach to motorhomes. But pay careful attention to each child’s specific needs. Your kiddo’s seat type and position dictate the safest place to put them.

When in doubt, look at the manual. Bending the rules or installing one against manufacturer recommendations is just as illegal in an RV. As long as you follow instructions, your child will be safe.

Can You Ride in an RV While Being Towed?

Some states don’t have laws forbidding people from riding in towable RVs and campers. But just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean it’s safe.

Remember, most towable campers don’t have seat belts. That’s the one rule every state has in common to protect passengers. So even if your area doesn’t have a towable RV passenger law, chances are riding inside one is actually illegal.

Class A, B, and C motorhomes undergo crash testing and earn safety ratings. They’re also built to withstand collisions. But pull-behind campers and fifth wheels aren’t. You don’t want to be inside a pull-behind trailer if it wrecks.

Pro Tip: Before you open your RV door, make sure you know whether or not Police Need a Warrant to Search Your RV.

Is Forgoing a Seat Belt Worth It?

Buckling up save lives. It’s really that simple. And while it may be tempting to ditch your RV seat belt to move around, it’s never a good idea.

If you need to access your living space, pull over first. Saving a little time isn’t worth risking your life. Just buckle up and enjoy the ride.

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