5.1 Seat Belts

Information
Method of Inspection
Reason for rejection
IMPORTANT Vehicles fitted with more than 8 passenger seats may be subject to a seat belt installation check. This can only be carried out by class V authorised test stations. It is essential therefore that you correctly identify vehicles that require a seat belt installation check.

A vehicle will require a seat belt installation check if ALL the following applies

1. It has more than 8 passenger seats fitted (see note below)

2. It has more than the legally required number of seat belts fitted (see page 8 for guidance)

3. There is no proof that all the seat belt installations have been fully type approved (see page 9)

4. There is no proof that a seat belt installation check has been previously carried out (this will be by a previous VT20 being produced at time of test showing that the vehicle has had an installation check)

5. Extra seat belts have been fitted since a previous installation check MOT.

Compare the number of seat belts now fitted with the number shown on the last MOT certificate.
A. Statutory fitment

1. Check that each seat that requires a seat belt is fitted with one of the appropriate type (see pages 4-9)
1. A seat belt missing or of the wrong type.
Note: If it is obvious that the vehicle is capable of carrying more than 8 seated passengers (for example, by having wheelchair tracking/clamps fitted) the presenter of the vehicle should be asked how many passengers the vehicle carries in normal use to establish the seating capacity.
 
 
 Condition of all seat belts fitted
 
B. Condition of all seat belts fitted

1. Pull each seat belt webbing against its anchorage to see that it is properly secured to the vehicle structure. Note: For seats with integral seat belts, it might not be possible to examine the fixing of the seat belt to the seat.
1.

a. a seat belt not securely fixed to the seat or to the structure of the vehicle. For example, a fixing bolt not secure

b. for seats with seat belts attached to them; any insecure attachment of the seat to the seat structure

c. for seats with seat belts attached to them; a cracked or damaged seat frame
 
2. Examine the condition of all seat belt webbing for cuts or obvious signs of deterioration. Pay particular attention to webbing around anchorages, buckles and loops. 2.

a. a cut which causes the fibres to separate

b. fluffing or fraying sufficient to obstruct correct operation of the belt or which has clearly weakened the webbing

c. stitching badly frayed, not secure, incomplete or repaired
 
3. Examine the condition of the attachment fittings and adjusting fitting on each belt. 3. An attachment fitting or adjustment fitting of a seat belt fractured or badly deteriorated.
Seat belt pre-tensioners
Some seat belts are fitted with pre-tensioners.

Once activated, a 'flag' or similar shows on the seat belt stalk.

In itself a seat belt that has had the pre-tensioner activated is NOT a reason for rejection.

The vehicle presenter should be advised.
4. Examine flexible buckle stalks for

a. signs of corrosion or weakness. Pull the sheaths aside, if this can be done without damage

b. 'waggle' flexible buckle stalks and listen for a clicking noise indicating broken strands of cable
4.

a. corrosion or deterioration of a flexible stalk likely to lead to failure under load

b. broken strands of a flexible stalk cable
 
5. Fasten each belt locking mechanism and try to pull the locked sections apart. On retracting seat belts, check that with the mechanism fastened and the seat unoccupied, excess webbing is wound into the retracting unit. Note: Some types of retracting belt might need manual help before they retract.

Operate the release mechanism while pulling on the belt to check that the mechanism releases when required.
5.

a. the locking mechanism of a seat belt does not secure or release the belt as intended

b. a retracting mechanism does not retract the webbing sufficiently to remove all the slack from the belt with the locking mechanism fastened and the seat unoccupied

Note 1: In doubtful cases, this should be checked with the seat base set in its rearmost position.

Note 2: The vehicle presenter should be advised of and given the opportunity to remove any temporarily fitted device likely to cause failure under this reason for rejection before notification of refusal is issued.
 
6. As far as is practicable without dismantling, check the condition of the vehicle structure around the seat belt anchorage points (ie within the 'prescribed area' see Appendix C). The floor-mounted anchorage points might need to be inspected from underneath the vehicle. 6. Deliberate modification which significantly reduces the original strength, excessive corrosion, severe distortion, a fracture or an inadequate repair of a load bearing member or its supporting structure or paneling within 30cm of a seat belt anchorage.

Note: With a seat belt attached to a seat frame this reason for rejection will apply to ALL seat mounting points.
Seat belt requirements for vehicles first used before 1 April 1987 ( Or in the case of  minibuses, motor caravans and ambulances 1 October 1988)
1.  3-wheeled vehicles

Driver's and specified front passengers seat (see note 1)

Centre front seat

Forward facing rear seats

with an unladen weight over 410kg first used on or after 1 January 1965, or

with an unladen weight over 255kg if first used on or after 1 September 1970

Except Vehicles

less than 410kg unladen equipped with a driving seat of a type requiring the driver to sit astride it, and constructed or assembled by a person not ordinarily engaged in the trade or business of manufacturing vehicles of this type.

A. vehicles first used before 1 April 1981: A belt which restrains the upper part of the body (but need not include a lap belt) for each seat

B. Vehicles first used after 31March 1981: A 3 point (lap/diagonal) belt (see note 2)

No requirement

No requirement

2. Passenger and dual purpose vehicles with no more than 8 passenger seats
with 4 or more wheels first used on or after 1 January 1965 As above No requirement No requirement
3. Minibuses (9-12 passenger seats inclusive), motor caravans and ambulances first used on or after 1 January 1965 not exceeding 2540kgs unladen
  As above No requirement No requirement
4. Goods Vehicles & living Vans
. first used on or after 1 April 1967
. with an unladen weight not exceeding 1525kg

or

. first used on or after 1 April 1980
. with a design gross weight not exceeding 3500kg#

# except those first used before 1 April 1982 or manufactured before 1 October 1981, if they are of a model of vehicle which was manufactured before  1 October 1979 with an unladen weight exceeding 1525kg.           
As above No requirement No requirement
Notes
Note 1:
The 'specified front passenger seat' requiring a  seat belt is the seat which is

Foremost in the vehicle, and

Furthest from the driver's   seat

unless there is a fixed partition separating the passenger seat from a space in front of it which is alongside the driver's seat, eg certain types of taxis, buses etc.
Note 2:
'3 point belt' means a seat belt which

i. restrains the upper and lower parts of the torso

ii. includes a lap belt

iii' is anchored at  not less than three points, and

iv. is designed for use by an adult. 
Note 3:
An adult harness belt comprising a lap belt and shoulder straps bearing a British standard marking is an acceptable alternative to any of the seat belt types listed.
 Note 4:
for passenger carrying vehicles and motor caravans converted from a goods vehicle see note 6 on page 7.

The definition of a motor caravan and a living van can be found in section A of the 5th edition MOT Testing Guide.
Seat belt requirements for vehicles first used after 31 March 1987 ( Or in the case of minibuses, motor caravans and ambulances 30September 1988)
Vehicle description Driver's and specified front passengers seat (see note 1) Centre front seat Forward facing rear seats
1. Passenger vehicles and dual purpose vehicles with not more than 8 passenger seats, except 3 wheeled vehicles

- with an unladen weight of 255kg or less

- with an unladen weight over255kg but less than 410kg

- equipped with a driving seat of a type requiring the driver to sit astride it, and

- constructed or assembled by a person not ordinarily engaged in the trade or business of manufacturing vehicles of this type
3 point belts for each seat (see notes 2 & 3) 3 point belt, lap belt or disabled person's belt A. Vehicles with not more than 2 rear seats; Either

i. A 3 point inertia reel belt for at least one seat; or

ii. a 3 point lap belt, disabled person's belt or child restraint for each seat.

B. Vehicles with more than 2 rear seats; Either

i. A 3 point inertia reel belt on an outboard seat and a 3 point static or inertia reel belt, lap belt, disabled person's belt or child restraint for at least one other seat; or

ii. A static 3 point belt for one seat and a disabled person's belt or child restraint for at least one other seat; or

iii. A 3 point belt, lap belt, disabled person's belt or child restraint for each seat

see additional information on pages 6 & 7
 
 
Motor Caravans and ambulances with up to eight passenger seats 3 point belts for each seat (see notes 2 & 3) 3 point belt, lap belt or disabled person's belt No requirement
 
 
Mini buses, motor caravans and ambulances (9-12 seats) with a design gross weight not exceeding 3500kg. 3 point belts for each seat (see notes 2 & 3) 3 point belt, lap belt or disabled person's belt No requirement
  
Mini buses, motor caravans and ambulances (9-12 seats) with a design gross weight  exceeding 3500kg. No requirement No requirement No requirement
  
Goods Vehicles and Living vans (with a design gross weight not exceeding 3500kg) 3 point belts for each seat (see notes 2 & 3) 3 point belt, lap belt or disabled person's belt No requirement
Seat Belts (Additional information: Forward facing rear seats)
Vehicles first used after 31 March 1987.  Forward facing rear seats must have at least the type and number of seat belts shown below.
One or two rear seats
 

OR

 

Three rear seats or any of below
More than three rear seats
OPTIONS
A. 
if one outboard seat has a 3-point inertia reel type belt, then at least one other seat in the rear must have an acceptable belt.

or

B. if any seat has a 3-point static belt, then at least one other seat in the rear must have either a child restraint or disabled person's belt.

or

C. if the vehicle does not comply with A or B above, then each seat in the rear must have an acceptable belt.
Acceptable Belts are
Lap belt, Disabled person's belts, child restraint, 3-point belt (static or inertia reel.)
Notes
Note 1: 
outboard seats are seats closest to the vehicle sides.

Note 2:
Rear seat belts are not required for vehicles with more than 8 passenger seats in any configuration
Note 3:
Rear facing or side facing seats are not required to be fitted with seat belts.

Note 4:
Occasional seats that fold when not in use, fitted in the rear of extended limousines are not required to be fitted with seatbelts
Note 5:
Seat belts fitted to the rear of the driver's compartment in a goods vehicle do not require to be fitted with seat belts (unless the seat is the specified passenger seat, see Note 1, page 4

Note 6:
A goods vehicle (eg. a car derived van) which has been converted to a passenger vehicle specification (ie. fitted with rear seats and side windows etc) is required to comply with the passenger vehicle requirements.
Legal Minimum Seat Belt Requirements for vehicles fitted with 9-12 Passenger Seats
  1. Vehicles first used between 1 January 1965 and 30 September 1988 not exceeding 2450kg unladen weight must have seat belts fitted to the driver's seat (a) and the specified front passenger seat (b) (two seat belts in total)

2. Vehicles first used after 30 September1988 not exceeding 3500kg design gross weight must have seat belts fitted to the driver's seat (a), the specified front passenger seat (b), and if fitted the centre front seat (c) (three belts in total)
Notes
The "specified front passenger seat"  requiring a seat belt is the seat which is
. Foremost in the vehicle, and
. Furthest from the driver's seat.

In the diagram, the dotted lines illustrate where a specified front passenger seat could be located.
Vehicles Exempt from Seat Belt Installation Checks
Ford Transits with type approved seat belt installations can be identified as follows:
  • 12 and 15 seat (including the driver) Transits manufactured after 1 October 1991 where the fourth character of the VIN Number is "E"
 
LDV 200 series models with type approved seat belt installations can be identified as follows:
  • Chassis number from 933478 onwards and the seventh character of the VIN number is "S" .
 
LDV 400 series models with type approved seat belt installations can be identified as follows:
  • Chassis number from 933478 onwards and the seventh character of the VIN number is "S"or"V".
 
LDV Pilot and Convoy models with type approved seat belt installations can be identified as follows:
  • Chassis number from 000001 onwards and the seventh character of the VIN number is "S".
 
Land Rover Defender 110 Station Wagon with type approved seat belt installations can be identified as follows:
  • manufactured 1990- from chassis number 455758
  • manufactured 1991 onwards- all chassis numbers.
Information on other makes will be circulated when it becomes available.
Important note:
 To be exempt from the check, vehicles must have been fitted with the seat belt installation by the vehicle manufacturer when new. If you are aware that a vehicle with a chassis number shown above has had any seats/seat belts fitted by any other installer, eg. where it has been adapted to carry wheelchairs and has removable seats on tracking, it will not be exempt and will require an installation check.
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