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  1. Default Question about vehicle modification

    Hi everyone,

    I'm going on a road trip this summer for 5-6 weeks with a few buddies. I am going to buy a 15 passenger van and I wanted make some beds in the back for when we won't have a place to stay. I also wanted to fit a small couch in the back. I was wondering if it's legal to have people sitting in a couch in the back of your car. I would be able to make it have seat belts too.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    No, it's not. A couch is not DOT/NHTSA approved.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    No, it's not. A couch is not DOT/NHTSA approved.

    How does it work with couch like seats in a camper? Do those have to get approved or something?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Yes, they get approval by meeting the safety standards laid out by the government. An RV couch is a whole lot more like a bench seat in a van than a piece of living room furniture.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Yes, they get approval by meeting the safety standards laid out by the government. An RV couch is a whole lot more like a bench seat in a van than a piece of living room furniture.

    Do you happen to know if there's any way to have something like that approved?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default For Starters...

    You would need to contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for their requirements. But I can pretty much assure you that you will have to be prepared to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of your proposed seating and passenger restraints under several crash scenarios including head on, rear end, and lateral impacts at speeds up to at least 15-25 mph. In other words, you will need to demolish examples of the vehicle/seating several times over. This is simply not something that you should even be contemplating.

    AZBuck

  7. Default

    hmm, yea . I don't have multiple vehicles to demolish haha
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-26-2012 at 04:27 PM. Reason: inline quote not needed here

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Charlotte Court House, Virginia, United States
    Posts
    2

    Default

    If you were to sell the vehicle commercially, I'm sure you'd have to meet some type of safety requirements. Is it legal to put a couch in the back? That would depend on who you ask - but I'm pretty sure the answer is no. Besides, in most states, you'd have to get pulled over for something other than seat belts or a couch in the back before they could site you anyways.

    I'd do the modifications and be done with it. Sounds like a cool idea actually :)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    The reason why its not legal is because it would be very dangerous if you were to get into a crash. Far more important that simply getting a ticket, Its entirely possible and even likely that you could suffer serious, life-altering injuries, even in a relatively minor, low speed crash. Not to mention, any insurance you have could also be voided, leaving the owner and the injured to pay for those injuries completely out of pocket (even if the crash was someone elses fault).

    Of course, if you got pulled over, you could be facing much more than a ticket. Since the vehicle is not street legal, it could be seized and you could be prevented from continuing on (or going home) until it was removed and replaced.

    Its really not something to mess around with, no matter how cool it may sound.

  10. Default

    the couch wouldn't be used while the vehicle is moving, only when we are parked for the night. anyway, there won't be enough room for a couch.

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