View Full Version : Safety Rules and Guidelines

09-15-2007, 09:25 PM
I'd like to focus this thread on the aspect of safety. *Not necessarily from the build point of view, such as defining what size tubing we should use and such, but more along the lines of required safety equipment for safe racing. *Terms and phrasing are for general purpose right now. *As we get farther into the aspects of the rules, we'll tighten up the way things are written.

I'm also going to mention the Pilot in a few items, as it has some different aspects than other lites. *Do the FL350's have similar systems to the Pilot? *If so, then places that the Pilot is referred to would also cover the FL350.

1) Must meet the most current Snell and/or DOT rating. *It doesn't have to be both ratings, just one or the other. *90% of the time they are in tune with each other, but there are some European helmets that don't follow both, yet will and do pass both.
2) Must either be a full face coverage helmet similar to a street bike helmet with a full face shield OR a full face Motocross style helmet with a full chin guard. *If the driver wears a Motocross style helmet full coverage goggles (motocross style) are mandatory.
3) Helmets without any sort of lower face coverage/chin guard and protection will not be allowed.
4) If a helmet has been in an accident the removable liner must be taken out and the Styrofoam liner MUST BE INSPECTED for cracking and/or any signs of compression or damage. *If you're not sure what to look for, please take the helmet to someone that does.
5) Helmet chin straps must be in working order and MUST BE USED AT ALL TIMES. *An unbuckled or loosely buckled helmet is about as good as not wearing one at all.
6) Helmet must fit properly. *A helmet that is too loose is dangerous and not able to do it's job. *A correctly fitting helmet should not move about on the head. *You should be able to grab the helmet by the chin guard and when you move it, the head should follow, not swim in it.

Safety Harnesses (Seat Belts)
1) Five point harnesses must be used. *The harness must consist of two over the shoulder straps, a pair of lap belts and an anti-submarine strap. *The shoulder straps and lap belts must be 3" wide and the anti-submarine strap 2" wide.
There are variations of the five point setup - there is a style called a six point or fighter pilot harness. *This type does not have an anti-submarine strap, instead it has a pair of straps that go around the thighs and are attached to the lap belts. *This setup functions in the same manner as an anti-submarine strap, as it will not let the driver slip down under the lap belts in a sudden stop.
2) Mounting of the shoulder straps must be behind the seat and no lower than 6", nor higher than even with shoulder level.
3) No "Y" type shoulder straps may be used. *A "Y" type shoulder strap consists of ONE mounting point and splits off into two upper harnesses.
4) Mounting of the lap belt to the chassis must be below and slightly behind the intersection of the planes of the seat back and the seat bottom. *Usually this point is about the same as the rear seat mounting point.
4) Buckles must be latch type. *No push button quick release. * - side note to this - Team Tech makes a twist latch quick release buckle that meets FIA requirements. *If the latch type meets FIA rules, then it should be deemed safe for our use.
5) Harnesses must have manufacture dates and need to be replaced every three years from said date. *Most manufacturers will refurbish and/or upgrade harnesses for a minimal fee.
6) A Horse Collar, HANS Device, or any similar device to help limit forward head movement during a sudden stop is recommended, but not required.
7) A stock Honda Pilot harness or similar will not be allowed.

Window Nets and Wrist Restraints

Please help me out here guys:
I'm aware that there are some open rules on these two items. *Window nets really need to be mandatory - especially in vehicles like Pilots that have very large side openings.

Wrist restraints are recommended too. *Wrist restraints must restrain the movement of the arms so that if you loose grip of the steering wheel you can't get your arms outside of the plane of the window opening.

Wrist restraints should be attached to the lap belts at the point of the latch. *This way if you need to get out of the vehicle quickly, you unlatch your harness and it will release the wrist restraints (they'll stay around your wrists, but free you from the vehicle). *If you have your wrist restraints attached to the wheel, say the way a Pilot does, you may be able to unbuckle your harness, but you're still stuck there to the vehicle by your hands. *Not a good scene if there's a fire going.

Driver/Fire Suit
A single layer fire suit should be mandatory. *I believe that a few of the places that race lites just require a driver's suit. *We need to upgrade this to at minimum a single layer fire suit.
Fire resistant gloves and shoes are recommended also. *(Simpson driving shoes are exceptionally comfortable too - think of it as a bonus!)

Misc things that come to mind right now (my mind is getting worn out):
Fuel Tank Fill - must be a locking type fill cap - Honda Pilot cap would be allowed. *Quick Fill type filler caps and caps generally found in most racing applications should be okay. *We'll get deeper into this later.
Fuel tank needs to have a roll over valve in the vent line. *Vent line needs to end away from the driver's compartment, any part of the exhaust system or electrical system. *Vent line should also not end in such a manner that if the vehicle is rolled over that it would spill fuel in the driver's compartment or on the exhaust system or electrical system. *Pilots, once again, are exempt from this particular aspect, as they have a fairly safe fuel tank.

Battery needs to be of a sealed design and should be fully enclosed. *Optima makes a really good, safe battery and should be the recommended unit if at all possible. *The Honda Pilot's battery box is sufficient in stock form.

5lb fire extinguisher must be mounted in the vehicle with easy access by both driver and someone outside the car (track worker).

09-15-2007, 10:26 PM
The only thing i see, is fire extinguisher, *any good track, the official should have his/her own fire extinguisher within there reach....I think with side nets and a wind screen it will be nearly impossible to suit both, IMO it should be easiest accesible to the driver first....Everything else looks good to me...So far..

09-15-2007, 10:47 PM

I have a few concerns about the on-board fire extinguishers though. AFAIA, in the event of a fire, the driver is normally supposed to extricate himself from the car (if possible) and then get well away from the blaze and let the marshals deal with it. The only on-board extinguishers that are normally permitted (and in a lot of cases, such as rallying, are mandatory), are the fire suppressant systems, either automatic or manual.

I think a fire suppressant system is way too expensive and complicated for a small stadium track. The organisers will no doubt have plenty of marshals on hand with full size extinguishers.

I didn't witness the accident, but I once met a driver who suffered a broken cheek bone after an on-board extinguisher snapped its stainless retainer band during a rollover and clobbered him in the face. I don't like the things in a race car.

09-16-2007, 07:24 AM
Bug - I'm against making a front screen mandatory. *I don't have an issue with someone putting one on a car, but not mandatory.

It's a bit of a personal thing with me, and I do realize this, so open up the debate on it guys.

I have run them and, while they do help avoid rocks and such, the full face helmet will also do the same (I do want to clarify - I come from a motocross background, so I'm used to roost - try following a group of 450's around a track). *On the same note, I watched a pair of tennis ball sized rocks enter the front of the Trophy Truck I've navigated in and catch Chad in the face. *I could hear them hit his shield though the intercom. *First one bounced off and about 15 seconds later, the second one cracked his face shield. *They were thrown by another TT that we were following. *The helmet did it's job and the chances of being hit twice in a row, in more or less the same place, are pretty small - especially on a short course where the track's groomed.

The front screen makes getting out of an already small window even harder if the car's in a situation where you can't get out of the sides - say one car on it's side and another parked on top, which I have seen, but fortunately not been involved in.

If a front screen is installed, it needs to be made so it's removable like a side net is. - once again, in my opinion.

Interesting comments Bob.
Onboard fire suppression system - overkill and agreed. *But I don't know of any sanctioning body here in the States that doesn't require at least a 5 lb unit somewhere in the car.

Once again, open up the debate on this one guys. *That's what this forum is all about - getting the rules figured out.

09-16-2007, 08:16 AM
If a front screen is installed, it needs to be made so it's removable like a side net is.

I would normally recommend wire screens for motocross style tracks or trail driving, but I also doubt if there's a need for screens on a man-made stadium track. If you want to fit a screen, it's simple to make it 'one way' by making it wider than the opening so it can't come inwards, but a push from the inside will pop it off if you use broom clips to mount it. They don't just keep out rocks, but other people's U-joints too! Seriously!

I don't know of any sanctioning body here in the States that doesn't require at least a 5 lb unit somewhere in the car.
If on-board manual extinguishers are part of the US racing scene, then that's pretty much sorted that one out.

09-16-2007, 09:04 AM
My thoughts on a few things:

I don't think windscreens or side nets should be mandatory, but of course they could be used it the driver wants and they are attached in a manner that allows for easy release in the event of an accident.

I think wrist restraints and at a minimum a horse collar for neck support should be required, not optional. *They are not that expensive and make a big difference in a crash. *Both are required for Baja SAE competitions.

I think a small fire extinguisher should be required, as you never know when it might be needed. *There was an incident a few years ago at a Baja SAE competition where a car flipped over and started on fire. *Extinguishers are required equipment for competing vehicles. *There were track workers around but no fire extinguishers close by, so the workers just pulled extinguishers from nearby cars that were flagged to a stop to put out the fire with. *That incident actually spawned a bunch of rule changes related to fire safety such as the check valve in the vent line of fuel tank, nomex upper garmet or driving suit, and wider firewalls for more driver protection.

09-16-2007, 09:35 AM
Good points guys, I to can see not making wind screen mandatory, I can however see making side nets manditory if "when driver is sitting normally in the car with hands on the wheel you can see the elbows within 4" below *the siderails of the chassis".. If everyone notices, rortys race cars have high sides, in the car i have now, *the side height is at or near his drawing specs, when seated in the car, the side rails are about 3" below my shoudlers, A lot harder to get the arms out, not all guys can run wrist restraints, as some will have shifters etc, and cant have the hands secured to one place.....

09-16-2007, 11:07 AM
The rule could be wrist restraints or side nets, as long as there is something to keep the driver's arms in the car.

09-16-2007, 11:22 AM
Fire Extinguisher - Pardon me, I said 5 lb. *I meant 2.5 lb

The little unit that's about 3.5" x 12" - 90mm x 300mm

09-16-2007, 03:55 PM
The rule could be wrist restraints or side nets, as long as there is something to keep the driver's arms in the car.

I agree with this. *I have never use wrist straps but would preffer window nets and no. *I would wan't only the seat belt strapping me in if I am unconsious and on fire. *Again, I have never used wrist straps but my thought process is if I am on fire and unconsious, how hard is it gonna be for someone on the outside to release both of my wrist straps to get me out???????

09-16-2007, 07:08 PM
If your wrist straps are mounted correctly, they'll come loose from the car when the harness is released.

Your wrist restrains must be attached to the lap belts where they go into the latch. *Open the latch and it lets the wrist restraints free.

09-16-2007, 07:10 PM
are you talking wrist restraints, or some sort of arm restraint, wrist restraints are actually connected like in a pilot, to the wheel correct? got any pics?

09-16-2007, 07:23 PM
I have wrist restraints floating around somewhere - and yes, wrist, not arm. *They attach around your wrist in the same place a watch would and have a tether that runs back to the harness's latch mechanism.

I set mine up so I can reach the top of the steering wheel and still rotate my hand forward a tad - it's enough to keep my hands from getting to the windows - not by much, but it keeps them inside.

I don't like the Pilot type - they're too loose and if you do tighten them down, you're stuck to the yoke and it's not a simple reach back and unlatch the belt to release. *You have to work your hands out of them.

I use the [url=http://www.teamtechmotorsports.com/:3jck1bgl]TeamTech[/url:3jck1bgl] restraints.

Here's a pic off their web site:


You can see the tether that runs from the "cuff" section.

09-16-2007, 07:27 PM
The lanyards on the arm restraints have a fitting that goes over the tongue of the saftey harness latch, so when you tug the latch open all the straps and the arm restraint lanyards fall loose.

Arm restraints do keep your arms from not only extending outside the cockpit, but also prevent injuries from the arms flapping around during a roll over and impacting with hard surfaces. They also offer the quickest way out in an emergency.

Window nets bar the arms from exiting the cockpit, but don't protect the arms from in-cockpit injuries. They do protect the occupant from wheels or other foreign objects entering the cockpit, but they are slower to undo and you would still need to undo the harness to alight from the car anyway.

For what it's worth, I prefer arm restraints, but they must checked by officials on the start line before a race. In my experience, it's not uncommon to find them badly adjusted; some competitors comply with the regulation to wear them, but don't have the common sense to have them properly adjusted.

09-16-2007, 07:31 PM
I see.....I shall adjust my opinion. *Thanks everyone.

09-17-2007, 07:33 PM
Windshield screen should not be mandatory. *Lite's like the EEE have you getting in and out of hte vehicle through the "windshield" area. *Mounting a screen makes getting in and out impossible. *If you have wrist restraints you should not need side nets, the wrist restraint should keep your limbs in. *Not all awrist restraints mount well to safety belts. *I personally mount mine to the steering column behind the steering wheel, which I need to remove to get out anyways. *Anybody have any links for a fire extinguisher system that would work in a lite. *I do want to get one. *Gets me nervous when I am upside down for a while and I can get out through the lid.

09-17-2007, 09:03 PM
My personal preferance is window nets, and I think they are just safer. *
They not only keep your arms in, but they help to keep foreign objects out.

I think I can drop my net quicker than I can get out of restraints.
Also with mine being a "shifter" I would not want the wrist restraints

Windshield may be preferred but not madatory. As stated, there are different rollcage styles, and some are front entry, not side.
I have pulled 3" rocks out of my cockpit after a race,,,so I prefer to run one.
We also have a very small front opening, so we would never exit that way anyhow.

After watching that video of someones sand rail burning a few months back,,,,and people trying to throw sand on it [smilie=banghead.gif]
I installed my 2.5 lb fire extinguisher in my buggy. * *Not just for racing, but for trails or dunes or whatever. *
At least I have the option of running,,,,or putting it out [smilie=big_explode.gif]

09-17-2007, 09:19 PM
I'm not saying one system is better than the other, but I'd just like to draw attantion to a few more points. It's not necessary to remove the restraints from the wrists - they stay on the driver until he removes the rest of his safety gear, so tugging the latch on the harness is the only requirement to release them.

Wrist restraints can be used in conjunction with a shifter, but the shifter would need to be mounted close to the steering wheel (either sticking out of the dash or a paddle on the steering wheel etc.). The shifter should be close to the wheel for ergonomic reasons anyway.

All wrist restraints must comply with the same standards as harnesses and should therefore be compatible with all harnesses. if anyone has found restraints that don't work with a latch type harness, the items are probably cheap imports and are not up to standard.

Also, wrist restraints have other uses around the house when you're not racing! *[smilie=mhihi.gif]

12-19-2007, 07:18 AM
Here's some pics of my son's hand that got mashed by 350 Ody roof edge corner across the hand back.
Had NO wrist restraints! [smilie=angry.gif]
Let our pain be your gain...Bazz

01-01-2008, 07:31 PM
Hi,I'm new to this site and this topic is of intrest to me.I drove a superlite in the Mickey series,and others for many years and would like to see something for the mini cars to race.I've read all that's *posted here and think that it would be a step in the right direction to try and get a copy of their old rule book.They left nothing out.And when it came to saftey they were more aggresive than most others.Alot of the places that we raced at used Mickeys rules because they were better.Anyone can drive a racecar but it only takes one idiot to ruin a race.Please keep this in mind--SAFTEY FIRST.