What are RV passenger laws?

RV passenger laws govern the maximum number of passengers allowed to ride in an RV. Every state's rules are different, but regardless of what the law says, common sense says to err on the side of safety. Always wear a seat belt when the RV is moving and limit the number of passengers riding in an RV to the number of seat belts available.

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What are RV seat belt laws?

RV seat belt laws govern whether you must wear a seat belt while the motorhome is moving and whether you can sleep in a bed or move around freely while the vehicle is in motion. While each state's laws vary, only one state in the U.S.—New Hampshire—allows adults over age 18 to ride unrestrained by a seat belt.

If you have little ones on board your RV, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that all states and territories require safety seats for infants and children. Every state has various requirements based on age, height, and weight. These safety seat requirements have three stages: rear-facing, forward-facing (harnessed) seats, and booster seats. Discover the best RVs for families.

Can you add seat belts to increase RV maximum capacity?

Some RVs can be customized to install additional seat belts. Check with the manufacturer or dealer for your options. RVs may be equipped so you can easily install an extra seat belt yourself. Otherwise, you can have them professionally installed.

Can passengers walk around in an RV while driving?

If you’re in a state that requires passengers to wear seat belts while the vehicle is in motion, you're typically not permitted to walk around in the RV while it's traveling down the road.

Can you sleep in an RV while someone else is driving?

In many states, you can sleep in an RV that's in motion if you're buckled into a seat, but check your local laws to ensure you comply.

How many people can travel in an RV?

Whether you're considering buying an RV or renting an RV, know that the maximum sleeping capacity of the RV isn't necessarily the same as the number of people allowed to ride in the RV. RV manufacturers, dealers, and rental agencies usually list the sleeping capacity of their RVs prominently in their marketing materials. You may want to dig deeper to find out how many seat belts the RV has. The number of seat belts may be fewer than the sleeping capacity — particularly in older RV models.

The basic guideline is that you should limit the number of people traveling in an RV to the number of seat belts available. Regarding how many people can fit in an RV, as long as you have enough seat belts in the RV for passengers under age 18, you'd be within the law. As for the rest of the US and the District of Columbia (DC), laws vary for front and rear seats and passenger age restrictions. If you're taking a trip in an RV, check the laws in each state where you'll be traveling.

What about passengers riding in fifth wheel trailers?

Most states prohibit passengers from riding in fifth wheel or travel trailers for safety reasons. Some states allow it but may have specific rules to follow. Check with your state to understand the specific requirements and learn more about the different types of RVs.

Can you use the bathroom or kitchen while in a moving RV?

Unlike buses, where you can legally get up and move freely (although you're advised to spend as little time as possible without a seat belt), RVs are governed by seat belt laws. To use the bathroom, kitchen, or bedroom in your RV, you'll have to take off your seat belt, which means you could be violating that state's seat belt laws.

Are there exceptions to RV passenger laws?

Some states exempt RVs over a certain age from some of their seat belt laws. Check the laws of the states where you'll be driving your RV to see whether there are any exceptions.

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