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Old 03-17-2015, 11:06 AM   #1
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1973 seat belt requirements

Looking at a 1973 MH being sold by a dealer in California. No seat belts, and I'm pretty sure that a MH of this vintage must have seat belts, if not from new then the dealer is required to install them. Ideally I want a 3 point system, but as a minimum I want lap belts. Anyone know for sure what the law states?
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Old 03-17-2015, 11:59 AM   #2
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I pulled this off Google, the first seat belt law was a federal law,Title 49 of the United States Code, Chapter 301, Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, which took effect on January 1, 1968, that required all vehicles (except buses) to be fitted with seat belts in all designated seating positions. I couldn't find anything else about who would be required to install, there should be mounting points somewhere around the seats.
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Old 03-17-2015, 12:33 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Harley1994 View Post
I pulled this off Google, the first seat belt law was a federal law,Title 49 of the United States Code, Chapter 301, Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, which took effect on January 1, 1968, that required all vehicles (except buses) to be fitted with seat belts in all designated seating positions. I couldn't find anything else about who would be required to install, there should be mounting points somewhere around the seats.
I also found that. I also found a CA dmv law that requires dealers to install seat belts on all 1973 and older vehicles. At least that what I believe it says, sometimes the wording is a little vague. The MH is in fantastic shape, but the fact that no seat belts are installed and there are no obvious mounting points bothers me.
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Old 03-17-2015, 01:31 PM   #4
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Section 27314.
(a) No dealer shall sell or offer for sale any used passenger vehicle that was manufactured on or after January 1, 1962, other than a motorcycle, unless it is equipped with at least two seatbelts which are installed for the use of persons in the front seat of the vehicle.
(b) No dealer shall sell or offer for sale any used passenger vehicle manufactured on or after January 1, 1968, other than a motorcycle, unless it is equipped with seatbelts for each seating position.
(c) Seatbelts required in subdivisions (a) and (b) shall comply with regulations established by the department.
(d) The requirements of this section shall not apply to sales to dealers, automobile dismantlers, or junk dealers.

The above is from the CA dmv, it seems clear to me the dealer must install seat belts. Am I wrong?
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Old 03-17-2015, 01:35 PM   #5
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I wonder if the RV is classified as a "Passenger Vehicle" under Calif law. I bet not...

If you like the vehicle, ask the dealer how much they would charge to install seat belts.
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Old 03-17-2015, 02:15 PM   #6
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I wonder if the RV is classified as a "Passenger Vehicle" under Calif law. I bet not...

If you like the vehicle, ask the dealer how much they would charge to install seat belts.
Okay, here's what I found out. Federal law required 3 point seat belts on all passenger cars from 1971 onwards ( driver and pass), and lap belts on all vehicles over 10000 pounds (driver and pass). All other seats also required lap belts as a minimum. So I'm not paying to have them installed, which is exactly what the dealer just asked me to do 5 minutes ago. I think this dealer just isn't aware of the law.
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Old 03-17-2015, 02:27 PM   #7
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Sounds like the price of the MH just went up a couple hundred bucks. :-(
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Old 03-17-2015, 02:41 PM   #8
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If the dealer is reluctant to do this, I would strongly consider negotiating a discount from the purchase price and dealing with it after the sale. They probably do not know how to dot it correctly, which could be worse than having no seatbelts at all. If you would tell us the make and model of the coach, and maybe post some photos of the front seat area, you may get some good advice about how to install seatbelts.

One thing to consider, especially if you have swiveling front seats, is that belts attached only to the seat are much less hassle than belts attached to the wall and/or floor. Belts attached only to the seat will probably require some structural reinforcement if your coach was not designed for them, but this may not be any more work than installing wall/floor belts in a coach that had none at all.
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Old 03-17-2015, 03:17 PM   #9
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I don't have a picture I can share. The seats do swivel, but I have feeling there is seat belt mounts already there since they were mandated. Problem is I'm too far away to just drop in and check for myself. I'm thinking of just asking for a discount and doing it myself. I'll see if they can at least check for the mołnts. I could just buy them and install myself before driving it. Still want 3 point belts though. I was in a terrible accident in 1990 and they saved my life so it's not even an option not to have them.
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Old 03-17-2015, 03:25 PM   #10
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While California law might mandate a dealer install the belts, the dealer's insurance and/or lawyer might be advising against committing to the liability to installing them. If the RV has anchor points (you haven't mentioned make or model) installing belts is a 10 minute job. If it's a Class C, the van portion of the cab should have anchor points. If it's a Class A, it might be more difficult to verify the strength or location of the anchor points, if they exist.

If you are really concerned about safety, not sure a 1973 vehicle (42 years old) would be on my list.
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Old 03-17-2015, 03:44 PM   #11
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While California law might mandate a dealer install the belts, the dealer's insurance and/or lawyer might be advising against committing to the liability to installing them. If the RV has anchor points (you haven't mentioned make or model) installing belts is a 10 minute job. If it's a Class C, the van portion of the cab should have anchor points. If it's a Class A, it might be more difficult to verify the strength or location of the anchor points, if they exist.

If you are really concerned about safety, not sure a 1973 vehicle (42 years old) would be on my list.
I understand. It's 1973 Dodge chassis based class a. New tires, brakes, drivetrain has been inspected, etc. Safety is always a concern, with older vehicles, but it can be minimized. I've owned approx 40 pre 1970 cars/trucks/vintage trailers without any issues, so I'm not afraid of this one, but am being put off by the dealers resistance, even if it is just a couple hundred doĺlars. I might just walk away, I have found 2 other coaches (75 and 77) that have belts, but they need work, where this one is clean and in excellent cosmetic shape.
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Old 03-18-2015, 12:01 AM   #12
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Be very careful about this and having a dealer that just wants to sell a vehicle doing the work.
A large MH might have a false flooring and someone not knowing what they're doing might just drill a hole and mount the belt anchors, but not do it correctly all way through any metal(s) to the underside of bodywork and using correct length of anchor bolts that are grade 8 with washers of large enough size to make sure that under an impact don't let the belt anchors pull through the metal.
If you look at newer vehicles that have factory installed belts, be they 2 or 3 point, the metals that anchor the belts are all re-enforced in these areas.

It will be a lot more expensive than just purchasing the belts and anchoring them down to the floor-work than you will realize. The belts for the MH will also need to be much longer to reach further to be fastened. You're not talking about some $20 per occupant belts, you're talking around $75 for each occupant type of belt, plus all the hardware needed to properly attach AND strengthening up all areas needed will take this to $250 to $300 per occupant seat to be properly done.

Also if you have a pedestal seat, and you attach a seatbelt system to it, with nothing done strength-wise, the pedestal might not be anchored enough in solid, cross-membered, heavier gauge, welded metal, to handle the stress of holding it's occupant under the G-Forces that an accident can create, which means under an accident, the seat occupant AND whole chair system will detach violently.

Start talking to any Ford, Chevy, etc dealer body shop where this would need to be done, and get some prices, you'll be shocked as to what will be needed to be safely anchored, and you see why this dealer is weasling out of installing the seatbelts, and if you purchase, will say----you should of had your mechanic inspect it.

Not knowing the law is no excuse in the court system.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:04 AM   #13
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This is simple.

Step 1 is visit in person the dmv office where you plan on registering the unit and ask to talk to a supervisor about it.

They are the enforcers of the rules and can confirm what they are.

Next if dealer is required then you may or may not trust them.

Locate qualified place to install correct and certified equipment and deduct their quote from price.

Then diy or have shop do work.
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Old 03-18-2015, 07:00 PM   #14
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you say you owned 40 vintage cars those cars did not come with 3 point
seat belts. and back in the early 70 rvs did not come with belts. i dont
thing dmv is talking about rvs. but you could add 2 point seat belts
yourself. but 3 point could cost you your life. a car has to be crash
tested and a lot of that testing is used to see where the belt can be
installed to high might rip your head off or come loose and cause
servire damage .think about it . also it would be cheaper for the
dealer to scrap the rv. then take a risk that you would sue him
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