6335 W. Newville Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89103
Dear Ms. Grant:
This responds to your letter asking whether your 1974 Chevrolet Blazer is "street-legal." You stated that an official of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles has questioned whether your vehicle is street-legal because it does not have shoulder belts. According to your letter, the vehicle has a fiberglass removable roof, and was originally manufactured with lap belts. You also stated that inquiries at local dealers indicate that General Motors does not make a shoulder belt for this model "because there is no place to safely mount it."
We assume that you are asking whether your vehicle was originally required to have lap/shoulder belts, because many states require vehicles in use to be equipped with the same kinds of safety belts that were required by the Federal government for the vehicles when new. As discussed below, your vehicle was not originally required to have shoulder belts, but was required to have at least lap belts at each seating position.
By way of background information, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is authorized to issue safety standards for new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle equipment. One of the standards we have issued is Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection. This standard specifies, among other things, seat belt requirements for new vehicles.
Standard No. 208 generally required, for model year 1974 vehicles such as your Blazer, either a lap belt or a lap/shoulder belt at each seating position, at the manufacturer's option. Therefore, your vehicle was not originally required to have shoulder belts.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact Edward Glancy of my staff at (202) 366-2992.
John Womack Acting Chief Counsel