RV driver

Things You Need To Know About RV Seat Belt Laws

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RV driver

Buckle Up

This article originally appeared on RVshare.com.

There are a lot of exciting parts of planning an RV road trip: where to go, what to see, whom to travel with. But you don’t want to neglect one of the most important parts of any road travel – your own safety and that of your passengers.

Safety first

RV Seat Belt Laws

Seat belt laws vary widely from state to state, which can make things complicated if you’re traveling through several states or across the country. The easiest thing to do is abide by the state with the strictest laws, and then you’ll know you’re in good shape regardless of where you travel. According to RV seat belt laws, you can sit anywhere in your rig; however, that doesn't mean that all areas of an RV are equally safe. Most importantly, the general consensus is to definitely strap in somewhere, as that is a safer alternative than not being strapped in at all.

Related: 41 Weird Laws From Around the World

Family on RV Road Trip

Laws Vary State by State

All states now require the driver and any passengers in the front of an RV to buckle up, though New Hampshire makes an exception to this for RV models from 1968 or older. Although it’s not a requirement in every state that the people in the back buckle up, it is certainly the safest way to travel. Keep reading to find out what each state requires of RV passengers when it comes to seat belts.

Related: The Best and Worst Cities in America for Driving

Retirement Road Trip


Those in the back seat are not required to buckle up, but remember to be smart and safe while traveling.

Family vacation RV holiday trip, happy smiling kids travel on camper, children in motorhome interior


All passengers in the vehicle are required to wear a seat belt. 

Boy and girl in recreational vehicle playing video game
Laws Dictating Seat Belt Use


All passengers in the vehicle are required to wear a seat belt.

Welcome to California Sign on the Highway
RV in mountains of Colorado.
teenager doing homework on motor home
Maximum Capacity


Every passenger in the vehicle must wear a seat belt.

RV in Key West
Young couple sitting in a camper van


Passengers in the back under 18 are required to wear seat belts.

Surfer And His Campervan
Motor home on the highway


Everyone in an RV must wear a seat belt, but vehicles over 8,000 pounds are exempt from the rule.

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Man reading book on RV couch


Back-seat riders can sit without seat belts while the vehicle is on the road.

Man driving on a road in the Camper Van


All passengers (and the driver, of course!) must wear a seat belt when riding in an RV.

Hippie kids on an epic roadtrip


Children under 14 need to have a seat belt when riding in the back of an RV.

Family vacation trip in motorhome
Little girl looking out from camper van
We're going on a road trip
girl lying on the sofa at camper van.


Adults in the back seat do not have to be buckled in, but children should still be in seat belts.

Family on a road trip with camper shooting a video
Family on RV Road Trip
Happy kids talking while drawing during their trip in a camper trailer.


Children 10 and under are required to wear a seat belt in the back seats.

Spending time with loving family


Children 10 and under are required to wear a seat belt in the back seats.

Kids having fun in motorhome (RV)


Children under 15 need to buckle up if they’re riding in the back seats.

Happy Camping
Family on a motorhome.


Those under 18 need to buckle up in the back seats.

Cool Camping
nostalgic travel with oldtimer caravan
Anneliese Gruenwald-Maerkl/istockphoto

New Hampshire

Everyone is required to wear a seat belt in an RV unless it is a 1968 or older model.

Teen girl doing homework in camper van

New Jersey

Children 17 and under are required to buckle up in the back seats.

new mexico landscape with fence in the front on a sunny day
Family on RV Road Trip
Mother straightens her daughter's vest
Road Trip, Badlands National Park, South Dakota

North Dakota

Children under 17 are required to wear seat belts in the back seats.

Driving a camper
Girls playing technology in camper van


Children 12 and under are required to wear seat belts in the back seats.

Cute toddler boy, kid sitting on the front seat in child seat on big camper van, smiling


Everyone is required to wear a seat belt in a moving RV.

Adult woman looking out of the window with her dog and thinking about her life and future in her caravan
Su Arslanoglu/istockphoto
Camper interior

Rhode Island

Everyone is required to wear a seat belt in a moving RV.

2 tourists driving a campervan in New Zealand
Virtual Assistant


Children under 16 are required to wear seat belts in the back seats.

Guadalupe mountains,
RV Driving Through National Park
RV Traveling Comfort


Everyone is required to wear a seat belt in a moving RV.

Pink haired young girl attends online class from her caravan
Su Arslanoglu/istockphoto
Tourist Camper Road Trip at Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Family traveling with RV

West Virginia

Children 17 and under are required to wear seat belts in the back seats.

Family in RV on Summer Road Trip
Motor Home for Camping Driving Grand Teton National Park Highway
Happy family talking while driving inside of a camp trailer.

RV Seat Belt Requirements for Minors

Many RV seat belt requirements are based on the age of the children in your vehicle. Make sure that each child is properly restrained according to state laws, and younger children should be in carseats. If you intend to carry children in your RV, always remember that child safety restraint systems should never be used in any rear-facing or bench-like seating. Here are more tips on traveling with a carseat in your RV.

Related: Amazing Family Vacation Rentals That Are Tricked Out for Kids

Girl and boy in caravan
Image Source/istockphoto

Buckle Up, Kids

Regardless of the laws for children wearing seat belts in each state, the safest practice is to have everyone buckle up when your RV is in use. Seat belt laws represent the bare minimum of safety standards and are sometimes influenced by things like whether legislators think they can enforce these laws, and how willing people will be to follow them. Safety is only one of their considerations when passing the laws.

Related: 12 Tips for Smooth Travel With Kids

Children strapped in children safety seats when driving in motorhome.

Alternatives for Keeping Children Safe

Here are a few other ideas to keep your children safe while you travel:

  • Choose a non-motorized towable like a teardrop camper or fifth-wheel trailer, as this is safer than a coach. Children can be restrained properly in the passenger vehicle that is towing the RV.
  • If using a coach, drive a second car for the children to ride in, so that the children are restrained properly. This has the added bonus of giving you a vehicle to travel around your destination once you’ve set up your motorhome.
  • Have custom seats built into your RV that meet federal seat belt standards, for strapping your children in.

Related: Roadschooling: Meet the Parents Turning Their RVs Into Classrooms

Friends on a roadtrip with campervan

RV Seat Belt Standards According to Class of RV

Whether you have a Class A, Class C, or Class B RV, keep in mind that manufacturers are only required to comply with seat belt standards for the front passengers, not any rear occupants that may be traveling in the rig.

Related: 17 Tips for RVers Riding Out the Coronavirus Pandemic

Dining Room Camper

False Sense of Security

Many RV seats have lap belts in the dining section of the RV. Though these seat belts are usually bolted to the floor, the biggest concern with these belts is that the wooden seat structure on which the passenger is sitting will fail and cause injury in the event of an accident. Furniture and appliances all around the RV can also fall over the passenger trapped in the seating.

Remember, sideways seats are not designated travel seats. Front-facing seats are the safest to travel in. Also, keep in mind that each manufacturer has different ways of testing their seat belts and there are no defined industry standards for these tests.

Related: 12 Dangerous Roads You Should Never Drive in an RV

Happy woman going on holiday

Safety First

With a little research, you can be sure that you’re complying with the state laws for seat belts and safe RV travel in each state!

Related: Bucket List RV Trips for 2021