Mr. William G. Larrabee
141 Cotton Brook Road
Dover-Foxcroft, Maine 04426

Dear Mr. Larrabee:

This responds to your letter asking in what year it was mandated that the U.S. auto industry begin to install safety belts in new cars. I am pleased to provide this information to you.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, then called the National Traffic Safety Agency) required all new passenger cars to have safety belts beginning on January 1, 1968. This requirement was included in one of the agency's initial Federal motor vehicle safety standards, which was based on the laws of 32 states. NHTSA required other types of new motor vehicles, such as sport utility vehicles, vans, and trucks, to have safety belts beginning on July 1, 1971.

I hope this information is helpful.


Samuel J. Dubbin Chief Counsel

ref:208 d:4/26/96