DVSA Launches Towing Safety Campaign

Drivers who tow trailers are being urged to carry out basic safety checks following the tragic death of a three year-old boy.

The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency has published a new online guide to help drivers check that they’re towing caravans, horseboxes and boats, for example, safely and legally.  It includes information on checking the towball and connection; wheels and tyres; brakes, lights and indicators; and loads and weight limits; as well as how to use a breakaway cable.

“It’s your responsibility to ensure equipment is fitted to your vehicle correctly and used safely,” the DVSA’s Chief Executive Gareth Llewellyn said.  “There is no excuse for not being informed.  Even a short journey with an insecure or unroadworthy trailer puts lives at risk.”

Larry Lambert, Chief Executive Administrator of the National Trailer & Towing Association, added:  “The NTTA firmly believes that education is the key to stopping these events from happening again and our association fully supports this campaign.  We urge all users to keep their trailers properly maintained and to allow sufficient time before each journey to carry out the essential checks that will ensure that their towing experience is safe and legal at all times.”

The DVSA guide is available at www.gov.uk/guidance/tow-a-trailer-with-a-car-safety-checks.

It is also important to note that the rules on what you can tow are different depending on when you passed your driving test.

If you passed before 1 January 1997, you’re usually allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8,250kg Maximum Authorised Mass (the limit on how much the vehicle can weigh when it’s loaded).  You’re also allowed to drive a minibus with a trailer over 750kg MAM.

If you passed your test on or after that date, you can drive a car or van up to 3,500kg MAM towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM, and tow a trailer over 750kg MAM as long as the combined MAM of the trailer and towing vehicle is no more than 3,500kg.

You have to pass the car and trailer driving test if you want to tow anything heavier.

For more information, visit www.gov.uk/towing-with-car.

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