Mr. Thomas K. O'Connor
Chief of Maintenance and Operations
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
of Greater Chicago
100 East Erie Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Dear Mr. O'Connor:

This responds to your letter asking about seat belt requirements for a step van with a GVWR greater than 10,000 pounds. You asked whether lap belts versus lap/shoulder belts are needed for compliance with the Federal motor vehicle safety standards. As discussed below, either lap belts or lap/shoulder belts may be used for this type of vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's safety belt installation requirements are set forth in Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection. I note that this standard specifies requirements based on vehicle type and seating position within the vehicle. Different requirements also apply depending on the GVWR of the vehicle.

The requirements for trucks with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or more are set forth in S4.3.2 of Standard No. 208. That section provides vehicle manufacturers a choice of two options for providing occupant crash protection. Option 1, dealing with automatic crash protection, is not relevant to your inquiry. Option 2, set forth in S4.3.2.2, requires vehicle manufacturers to install Type 1 (lap) or Type 2 (lap/shoulder) belts at every seating position. Thus, either lap or lap/shoulder belts may be used to meet S4.3.2.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to call Edward Glancy of my staff at (202) 366-2992.


John Womack Acting Chief Counsel ref:208 d:10/11/95