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Old 06-26-2007, 10:27 AM   #1
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We just had one of our Casita Club friends involved in a very serious accident (multiple roll-over) after his "Break-Away" swich activated his brakes unintentionally.

The tug and trailer stayed together throughout the maneuver, and thankfully, despite needing to but cur from their tug with "the jaws of life" the occupants are OK.

My question is:

While ALL new-manufacturer trailers with brakes by Federal Law must have a break-away switch and battery capable of holding the trailer brakes for 15 minutes independent of the tug. Does that mean that all OLDER trailers must be retrofitted with such equipment?

I read on another Forum that heavy State and Federal fines are levied against anyone who does NOT have a working break-away system, but that presupposes everyone KNOWS of the law and should have by now complied.

Has virtually every trailer been modified by now? Am I the ONLY one with an older (2002) trailer w/o such a system?

Thanks,
Bob
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Old 06-26-2007, 10:27 AM   #2
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We just had one of our Casita Club friends involved in a very serious accident (multiple roll-over) after his "Break-Away" swich activated his brakes unintentionally.

The tug and trailer stayed together throughout the maneuver, and thankfully, despite needing to but cur from their tug with "the jaws of life" the occupants are OK.

My question is:

While ALL new-manufacturer trailers with brakes by Federal Law must have a break-away switch and battery capable of holding the trailer brakes for 15 minutes independent of the tug. Does that mean that all OLDER trailers must be retrofitted with such equipment?

I read on another Forum that heavy State and Federal fines are levied against anyone who does NOT have a working break-away system, but that presupposes everyone KNOWS of the law and should have by now complied.

Has virtually every trailer been modified by now? Am I the ONLY one with an older (2002) trailer w/o such a system?

Thanks,
Bob
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Old 06-26-2007, 02:00 PM   #3
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Trailer brakes are usually required when the trailer GVWR exceeds a couple thousand pounds. I think it is as low as 1500# in some states, 3000# in others. Your Casita in your state may be under that weight threshold (although I haven't seen any without brakes and the 17' seems to have a 3500# GVWR which would require them).

The accident you describe raises several questions. One is why the break away switch was activated. You have to pull the pin for that to happen. I have seen a lot of sloppy connections but accidentally pulling that pin is still quite a trick.

The other is why activating the trailer brakes caused a rollover. Slamming on the brakes doesn't do that.
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Old 06-26-2007, 03:18 PM   #4
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So you are saying that it is the responsibility of every trailer owner to upgrade his trailer to meet CURRENT State and Federal Laws governing the manufacture of NEW trailers, regardless of when it was manufactured.

Since my Casita is a 2002, I guess I'd better research any new laws that have come into being since then, and modify my trailer to conform.

The person in question (who had the accident) suspects something off the road snagged and pulled his break-away line, precipitating the accident.

Since one trailer wheel (and two TV tires) were already off the pavement when the trailer brakes locked, I suspect the asymetric braking (pavement on one side, dirt on the other) caused a violent swerve that may have started the sequence.

Bob
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Old 06-26-2007, 03:53 PM   #5
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It is up to the owner/operator to meet the requirements of the state where he is licensed and registered. That is the way it was explained to me. If you tow into another state, they will accept your operators license, but you do have to meet the mechanical requirements of that state.

Ken
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Old 06-30-2007, 08:09 PM   #6
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I only know for sure of Indiana towing laws. They state ALLtrailers with a GVW of 3,000# or more must have working brakes and breakaway switch. Older trailers must be retro-fitted. Towing Laws for each state are highlighted in that link.
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Old 07-01-2007, 06:36 AM   #7
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In Texas any trailer with a gross weight of 4500# or above must have brakes and an annual state inspection like a vehicle.
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