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Seat Belts are not required by UK law for the Citroen H van
While we would always advocate Safety First the Citroen H is a Van that was not designed to have Sealt Belts and as such does not have seat Belt Anchorage Points. Due to the unique removable nature of the floor, fitting Seats belts is not easy to do in a safe way.
The Citroen H van (Pickup, Horse box, Cherry Picker, etc) is exempt from having Seat Belts on ALL MODELS from 1947 to 1st April 1982 yet some MOT Garages are incorrectly interpreting the rules and insisting on Seat belts for the Driver and/or Passenger when they are not required.
The H van removable Floor and structure means that the usual anchorage points are just not available. Therefore fitting seat Belts into a H van, in a way that will restrain a large person, is very difficult to do without destroying the Vans heritage. It can be done but re-inforcement of the anchorage points is essential.
The steel of the body side just above the Drivers left shoulder is only 1mm thick steel, any bolt fitted into this area would just tear out of the Steel with only the weight of a small Child. The later vans, from around 1979 on, that have Seat Belts fitted by the Factory have a tripple re-inforcing plate about 120mm square underneath the top Steel layer.
If you want to use this part of the body as an anchorage point we would advise some fairly hefty 3mm x 100mm x 100mm plate welded on top for strength. It does not look pretty when it's done though, hence using the method below which has the advantage of also providing mounting points for Worktops or Beds. Using these points for mounting a belt puts the Stalk/buckle in the middle of the walkway to the back of the van creating a trip hazard. The Stalk or webbing belt socket, should be below the level of the bottom of the thigh so that the buckle does dig into the thigh in an accicident
You don't have to fit seat Belts in a H van, however, please note that if you do they will be examined to the very latest seat belt standards and have the security of the Mounting Points examined very carefully. A lap belt is not adequate for the front of a vehicle and will not get through an MOT. No good trying to argue it is better than nothing, even though it is. Note also that if you fit belts they must be worn, or incur a fine.
A van without belts can pass an MOT, but a van with poorly fitted Seat belts will fail an MOT
Some of the Seat belt mounting points we have seen fitted are woefully inadequate.
The best seat belt mountings we have seen, are a bar arrangement running between the roof and the floor located just to the Right of the Drivers Right shoulder. These bars can be welded or fitted using sturdy bolted brackets. The Seat belt stalks are then out of the way on the drivers left hand side, not in the walkway to the rear of the van. The other advantage is that these bars then form a really good suppot point for any worktops or camper van equipment, beds, tables, etc you might install in the van. The extra strength they give the van is also welcome, see photo below.
Many Vans built by specialist converters often used this type of Steel bar construction as a starting point when dividing the cab from the load area, for example in a Horse Box, Beast Carrier, etc.
In a H van you have 3 Seat Belt options :
Inertia belts : these are the modern style of belt that allows you to lean forward and move around in the seat but will lock and stop movement in an accident.
No Seat belts : The fittment of seat belts is not a legal requirement and will not fail the MOT on any year of H van from 1947 to 1982.
Static Belts : These belts, once buckled tight, allow only the minimum of movement. In our view they are worse than no belts at all as they become such a pain, they are not used. You will be Fined (with 3 points?) if they are fitted and you don't use them, even if the van doesn't legally need to have belts fitted. A Static belt needs to be tight to be effective, yet in a H van more than any other vehicle you really need to be able to move about in your Seat to get visibility either through the rear or side window. Static belts are generally about £14, our recommended Inertia reel belts are £17.99.
Static seat belts also tend to have the Red 'socket' end of the belt on a piece of webbing that drops to the floor each time you undo it. Meaning that every time you need to do it up, you have to reach right down onto the floor and scrabble for it under the seat. Static belts are available with a Stalk as a cost extra, but tend to be almost as much as our recommended Inertia belts which give full freedom. If you do fit static or Inertia belts with a webbing piece for the Socket end, not a Stalk, make sure you fit a good Interior light so you can find it in the dark.
For the best extra long Inertia Retractable Seat belts, that can be used either way around, contact Charlie : firstname.lastname@example.org They cost £17.99 each, which is only about £3 more than an average static belt, These are high quality, not like the poor ones sometimes available where the reels jam and fail to retract.
Charlies Seat belts are available with either a 150mm stalk or a 300mm stalk. We recommend the 150mm stalk is it doesn't get in the way when moving from the front seats into the rear of the van. It is long enough not to need to scrabble on the floor but short enough not to get in the way.
Ask for the 'extra long 3.5metre Inertia Retractable belt with a 150mm stalk' : email@example.com
He will then email back payment details etc. He also has 'Super long 4.0m Inertia Retractable belt with a 150mm stalk'.
We have no connection with Charlie, he is just the best, cheapest supplier we have found.
Note that most 'ordinary' Seat Belts currently for sale are only 3 metres long and too short for use in a H van as they are designed for Cars. Because of the way the seating position is. If you don't buy from Charlie, search for Truck/Coach seat belts.
SEAT BELT LAW for H vans
The Law in relation to Classic Cars says that seat belts should be fitted to any Car made after 1/1/65.
However, the H VAN is not a Car, it is classified as a Goods Vehicle so the Construction and Use Regulations for most Cars do not apply to the H van and this is where the confusion lies.
The law states what vehicles must be constructed with seat Belt anchorage points and Seat Belts fitted to them : Seat belt anchorage points Regulation 46
(1) Save as provided by paragraph (2), this regulation applies to—
(a) every wheeled motor car first used on or after 1st January 1965; and
(b) every three-wheeled motor cycle the unladen weight of which exceeds 255 kg and which was first used on or after 1st September 1970.
(2) This regulation does not apply to—
(a) a goods vehicle (other than a dual-purpose vehicle) which was first used—
(i) before 1st April 1967; or
(ii) on or after 1st April 1980 and has a maximum gross weight in Great Britain (determined in accordance with the provisions of Schedule 11) exceeding 3500 kg; or
(iii) before 1st April 1980 or if the vehicle is of a model manufactured before 1st October 1979, was first used before 1st April 1982 and, in either case, has an unladen weight exceeding 1525 kg;
The full text can be found here :
We would always advocate a Seat Belt, as the Steering Wheel on a H van is not the most friendly piece of furniture to contact the Head or Chest in an Accident. The one we fit to our Collapsible Power Steering Column spreads the load much better with some 'give', see :
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