Author Topic: seat belt laws  (Read 5513 times)

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Offline matt

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seat belt laws
« on: February 16, 2011, 07:04:19 PM »
Hi guys
Does any body know the seat belt laws for a 1954 cadillac in victoria? I want to put seat belts in the back at least for a baby seat or two but don't want to put disgusting late model belts. did they come out with seat belts as an option in 1954 and if not is it still legal to use the old lap metal clasp like aviation style if they are new?

Matt

Offline Bruce Reynolds

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Re: seat belt laws
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2011, 07:47:30 PM »
G'day Matt,

No seat belts in cars that old, not even Formula 1 Racing cars of the period I think.

Whatever seat belts you put in, put in the best.

BUT, with the new National Seat Belt laws regarding the carriage of children, I think that there is no distinction between old and new cars.   Just have to have restraints.

The following is from the Government Website:
Summary of changes

The new national child restraint laws state:

    * Children younger than six months must be secured in a rearward facing restraint.
    * Children aged six months to under four years must be secured in either a rear or forward facing restraint.
    * Children aged four years to under seven years must be secured in forward facing child restraint or booster seat.
    * Children younger than four years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows.
    * Children aged four years to under seven years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows, unless all other back seats are occupied by children younger than seven years in a child restraint or booster seat.


I know that there has been serious discussions regarding the new Laws, but the regulators must think that everyone drives new cars, or any car that is newer than 1969, when the Seat Belt Laws began in the ADR's.

Bruce. >:D
Bruce Reynolds, Lindisfarne, TASMANIA
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Offline Rick

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Re: seat belt laws
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2011, 08:28:37 PM »
I've been looking into that recently as well. I believe cars from 1989 and onwards must comply with national standards, and cars built before 1989 must comply with state guidelines.

For NSW I've found that pre-1965 don't require seatbelts. 1965-1969 require front seatbelts. 69-onwards must have front and rear belts. In all cases if seatbelts are fitted they must comply with Australian Standards. So for example if you've got a 64 Cadillac you'll either have to remove the seatbelts altogether or replace them with AS ones.

I'm finding it difficult to source AS retractable lap belts (2-point belts), like those found in convertibles. Most places only static lap belts, or retractable 3-point belts. Kinda sucks.
Rick
Bligh Park, NSW
1960 Miller Meteor

Offline Bruce Reynolds

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Re: seat belt laws
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2011, 08:59:28 PM »
There are no AS retractable 2 point seat belts, as the AS only cover 3 point belts.

BUT, the sticking point with Seat Belts in older cars is when they are carrying "Children".     No matter what the age of the car, Children must be restrained.

Bruce. >:D
Bruce Reynolds, Lindisfarne, TASMANIA
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Offline Whitepink59

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Re: seat belt laws
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2011, 09:12:44 PM »
When it's your kids, you should do it right.  It is more important than originality, looks, cost or, well, anything.

I had inertia reel belts installed in my '59, front and back.  Big headache (and cost), but I am happy with the results.  I installed inertia reels for cosmetic reasons.  I am told that they are no more or less safe than static belts, but allow greater movement around the cabin.  If I had my time again, I would probably instal static belts and avoid annoying inertia reel (it always needs adjusting).

I looked for retro style silver buckles.  From all reports, they do not comply and are not permissible in Vic.  And they are not safe (they apparently cut your tummy in a crash and do not release in the same way that the ugly black and orange ones do).  I ended up using the ugly ones because that is all there was available.

The guy who installed mine it is a turd. He did a good job on the belts, but the service was truly horrific.  He seemed to spend more time complaining about how hard his life is than actually working on the car then charges ridiculous money for the privilege, so I can't recommend him to you.

There was a guy in Bendigo who supplied belts for hot rods, but I don't think he instals belts any more.  I spoke to him after my ordeal and he recommended using a hot rodder to instal the belts because they are used to doing custom jobs. There seems to be some sense in that.

Also, I will be speaking to these guys soon about belts in another USA import car - http://www.jamiesonautofit.com.au/vehicle_safety.htm

I should be speaking to them in the next few weeks, so let me know if you want a report.

As for child restraints, you should be able to fit both forward and rearward facing seats in the back without difficulty.  The removable capsule fitted into my back seat, although I needed to slide the front seat forward a little.  Another thing to think about - most child restraints only need a lap belt to instal.  If it is only for the kids' seats, consider a lap only because it is easier and cheaper.  However, they have obvious limitations.

You will also need a rear mounting point for the kids' seats.  In my '59 it was simply screwed into the parcel tray by the car seat installer.  Not original, but it means I can take the family in the car.  If the car is convertible, then it is a little more tricky.  
1959 Coupe DeVille, white with pink interior
1970 Mercury Cougar XR7 convertible, orange over brown, 351W and FMX

Offline matt

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Re: seat belt laws
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2011, 04:16:27 PM »
Thanks guys, I would love a report on how the Jamieson auto fit job goes, I only have two last question can i install my self and have them checked by an engineer and is it legal to have lap belts for all the seats because i think i could deal with just the lap all round.

thanks
Matt

Offline Whitepink59

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Re: seat belt laws
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2011, 11:05:51 AM »
Thanks guys, I would love a report on how the Jamieson auto fit job goes, I only have two last question can i install my self and have them checked by an engineer and is it legal to have lap belts for all the seats because i think i could deal with just the lap all round.

thanks
Matt

Bruce?
1959 Coupe DeVille, white with pink interior
1970 Mercury Cougar XR7 convertible, orange over brown, 351W and FMX

Offline Dave & Deb

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Re: seat belt laws
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2011, 11:36:13 AM »
I would think it would be OK to fit the belts yourself and then have them checked.  Best to find an engineer first though and ask the question.  Fitting seat belts isn't rocket science, you just have to use a bit of common sense when mounting them.  It's not good enough just to drill through the floor and stick a bolt and nut through, you'll need a bit of heavier plate behind as reinforcing.  I would think an engineer would be able to point you in the right direction.

Dave
1958 Fleetwood Series 75
1959 Six Window Sedan
1960 Series 62 Convertible
1968 Pontiac Parisienne Convertible

Hunter Valley NSW

Offline 59CoupeDeville

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Re: seat belt laws
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2011, 10:35:09 PM »
I had my Chev fitted with inertia reels and they were installed by my bodyshop in accordance with the current Vicroads specs, then engineer checked. No reason you can't do it yourself and get an engineer to approve it.

They need plates welded or riveted (mine were welded in) behind to reinforce the floor or parcel shelf so the bolts don't just rip out. Not rocket science but it needs to be done right, it may save your life so it's worth it. The engineer should outline all the requirements.

I also intend to do the Caddy myself as it just feels weird not having one on and I am also thinking of lap sash ones,as long as they comply with Australian ADR's I would think they should pass, but I haven't inquired yet.

If anyone finds a decent looking lap sash set can you post the supplier, I am trying to find the old type brushed steel ones with the button in the middle, like the old Valiant ones, I think they would be closest to what the originals look like, but safer.

Cheers..Steve

Offline Bruce Reynolds

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Re: seat belt laws
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2011, 08:53:06 PM »
When fitting Seat Belts to the floor, I remember the seat bely kits came with a plate to place under the floor, to spread the load, and that was 1/8" thick, and roughly 3" x 2" and I can recall my memory bank telling me something like 6 Square Inches as a minimum.

I am not aware if it is a requirement to have an engineer's report when fitting Seat Belts into a vehicle not designed for them, BUT, never drill through the "B" Pillar to fit the Sash part.

I know that it was the rage back in the '70's when the Transport Authorities were going Seat Belt mad, and wanting people to fit belts to old cars, but then there were a few deaths caused by poorly-fitted belt anchor-points in the "B" Pillar, in as much as the pillar broke in a crash, because the hole weakened the area.   This was caused by idiots using too large a drill in some instances, and not drilling in the proper location, taking into account the internal structure of the Pillar.

Bruce. >:D

PS.   I don't think there would be anyone selling Lap Belts for Automotive use, and as has been said before, if fitting belts, go with the ones that give you protection, and not appearance.   No good being dead, and the car surviving.
Bruce Reynolds, Lindisfarne, TASMANIA
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Offline GMPX

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Re: seat belt laws
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2011, 11:57:56 AM »
FYI, my 67 has threaded holes in the B pillars for upper belts, yet only lap belts fitted, I wonder how far back Cadillac were putting the upper mounting points in there?
Ross
Melbourne, The Nanny State
1964 Fleetwood - 6.0L/4speed LS conversion.