New campaign targets safe trailer use on UK roads

New campaign targets safe trailer use on UK roads
A new safety campaign pertaining to safe vehicle towing has been launched, following the tragic death of a three-year-old boy in Bristol.

Spearheaded by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), the new online guide details how motorists need to check their trailer is safely secured before towing additional vehicles such as boats, caravans and horseboxes.

It includes the critical stages of safety checking – such as monitoring the lights, brakes and height of the coupling, as well as providing information on how to use a breakaway cable.

READ MORE: The RAC's complete guide to caravan towing

Freddie Hussey was crushed when a portable trailer cabin became detached from a Land Rover Defender in 2014. He was walking with his mother in Bedminster when the runaway component collided with them.

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The youngster sustained head injuries after the trailer came adrift, crushing him against a wall and a telegraph pole.

The driver of the Land Rover, Tony Davies, was working as a delivery driver when his trailer become detached and tragedy struck.

He pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at Bristol Crown Court and received a six-month driving ban together with 200 hours’ community service.

The problem was put down to wrongly-placed handbrake lever, which caused the separation of the vehicles. The cabin roamed for up to 12 car lengths before hitting the curb of the pavement.

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Gareth Llewellyn, chief executive of the DVSA, reiterated the message to all motorists that anything connected to their vehicle must have gone through the necessary safety checks on attachment.

He said: “There is no excuse for not being informed. Even a short journey with an insecure or unroadworthy trailer puts lives at risk.”

The latest campaign has the full support of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and the National Trailer and Towing Association.

Transport minister Andrew Jones said he was “shocked and saddened” by Freddie’s death. 

He added: “It is absolutely essential that drivers carry out a few quick and simple checks to make sure their trailer is safe so we do not see a repeat of this awful tragedy.

“This campaign will help drivers to make sure they are towing safely and will save lives in the process.”

Adding her voice to messages of support for the campaign is Bristol South Labour MP Karin Smyth who, as well as holding face-to-face meetings with Freddie’s parents Donna and Scott Hussey, called a special Parliamentary debate earlier in the year.

She says the new campaign underlines the value of persistence, and the “refusal to allow Freddie’s death to be in vain.”

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.