Law & Order

NHTSA Proposes Rule for Seatbelt Warning Systems for Passenger, Rear Seats

By the SEMA Washington D.C. office 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)Seatbelt has announced a proposed rule requiring automakers to equip new vehicles with seatbelt warning systems for the front passenger and rear seats. More than a decade after the agency was directed by The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act of 2012 (MAP-21), NHTSA has initiated a rulemaking proceeding to amend Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208, "Occupant crash protection," to require a seatbelt use warning system for rear seats. Currently, FMVSS No. 208 only requires a seatbelt warning for driver seat use. 

NHTSA's draft rulemaking proposes:  

  • A visual warning on a vehicle startup for at least 60 seconds, notifying the driver of the status of the rear seatbelts.  
  • If a rear seatbelt is not buckled, an audio warning will go off for at least 30 seconds while driving. 
  • An audio-visual warning for the right front passenger seat remains active until the seatbelt is secured, similar to the current driver seat warning. 

NHTSA is accepting public comments on the proposal until November 6. You may submit your written comments here

For more information, contact Tiffany Cipoletti at