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Old 07-07-2010, 07:10 AM   #15
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That article is more hype than anything else. See what the "new law" requires? Basically just that you have a trailer hitch of suitable capacity. Maybe that photo of the station wagon towing a 5W is a common thing in VA?

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A Virginia law that took effect last week requires that any vehicle towing another vehicle or trailer have a trailer hitch or similar device strong enough for the weight of the vehicle or trailer being towed.
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Old 07-11-2010, 03:12 PM   #16
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The VA law seems to say, "You have to follow the laws we already wrote, or you'll be guilty of breaking this one, too."

Did you notice the chart of deaths in the article also showed a pretty significant downward trend from 1999-2005?

The trucking industry has a long experience with these "single issue" activists. Basically, we've learned to hire our lobbyists, pay them well, and hold on to our wallets.
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:26 AM   #17
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I have to agree strongly about Mr. Blanche statements about the trucking industries .
I am glad I retired from the industries of transportation....
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:18 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Lorna View Post
The phrase "trailers" covers an awfully diverse group. I have seen more dangerous "small" cargo trailer situations than I have RV trailers.

Although I will never forget the huge Fiver that was behind me one time on Hwy 76 in N. GA outside of Blairsville,(I changed lanes... I had been watching them drive thru the little town, I knew what was going to happen and I didn't want to be in the way). The Fiver was huge, the truck.... was not. Anyone could see the truck was way too small to be pulling anything of that size. Outside of Blairsville (heading west) a little ways from town is a traffic light. I don't know where the sensor is but I always was stopped by the light. I slowed down, stopped and told my daughter who was riding with me... "This is why you don't pull a trailer with a truck that isn't capable of stopping it. You can't pull a trailer with any truck that will move it down the road. Now watch and learn..." The truck hit its brakes and the trailer pushed it thru the traffic light, I mean all the way thru. The fiver was well over 30 ft... probably closer to 40 ft.. I could have parked 3 of my Jeep Grand Cherokees (with room between each) in the space behind the Fiver left between the end of the fiver and the far edge of the intersection where it finally stopped. It was a good thing that there was no one crossing the intersection because the timing was right... that truck would have taken out any vehicle right at the passenger compartment. When I passed them again... the folks inside looked awfully freaked.

I believe that instead of putting so much emphasis on "pulling power", they need to concentrate a bit more on "stopping capabilities" when discussing what a truck can tow.
The trailer brakes should handle all of the braking needs of the trailer. My guess is that they probably didn't have a brake controller, too.

I'm in NO way doubting that the person you saw did not have the right truck for the fiver being towed. I just think they made more than 1 error.
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Old 07-12-2010, 08:26 AM   #19
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I am thinking about getting a motorcycle. But in MD I need to take a special course (for $300) and take a special test. Rarely do motorcycles kill anyone but the riders. Yet trailers are very dangerous when in an accident and they have no such requirements.

I had a friend who was nearly killed towing a small utility trailer with too much weight loaded on it. It lifted the rear end of his vehicle and it got worse from there. They were doing over 60 on a CA freeway.

Should we require a special course and/or ensorsement on the drivers license? I am not sure, but it is something we should think about.
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Old 07-12-2010, 09:37 AM   #20
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Should we require a special course and/or ensorsement on the drivers license? I am not sure, but it is something we should think about.
Let's revisit our successes with existing government regulation programs:
1. There are laws of all sorts for moving traffic violations from speeding to improper lane changes. How are we doing in reducing traffic deaths as are result of those laws? I include DWI in that group. There are severe penalties for DWI yet I've attended defensive driving courses where the majority of attendees have had multiple DWI convictions are are still there, taking the class . BTW, I was there to reduce my insurance. I haven't had a ticket in over 30 years.
2. There are regulations on trailers today. In Texas, DPS has special teams who enforce them. I've been working on a project at home where I need to take things to the dump. All a DPS trooper would have to do is sit on the road leading to the dump and he could have a full time job, enforcing the existing trailer rules. If I can figure this out, why can't the DPS? Some of the stuff that gets towed in there shouldn't be on the road.
3. I have to buy a very expensive trailer license every year. They make me show proof of insurance. In Texas, as many as 50% of the trailers on the road don't have proper. current licenses.
4. Texas is in a very aggressive campaign to make sure that drivers have liability insurance. They are matching insurance company records by VIN to vehicle registrations by VIN. The current estimates are that more than 30% of the vehicles on the road have no liability insurance.

So here is my question: what will additional laws and restrictions do to help solve the trailer problem? I agree that there is one. What I'm afraid of is that new trailer restrictions will hit law abiding citizens like me who tow their trailers safely, with all of the proper equipment, safety chains, lights, etc. and produce the same result as all of the existing regulations do. Those who are problems when towing trailers today will be the same under the new laws. We lack the manpower to enforce the laws that are already on the books. It today's world of governmental budget cuts, I cannot imagine enough enforcement resources suddenly becoming available to do anything with any new trailer laws or to administer trailer enforcements on a driver's license. Yes, I'm cynical. I'm also pragmatic.

I'm sorry, I know that this will sound harsh but there is a phrase to cover your friend towing a trailer that was lifting his vehicle on a freeway at 60mph - "you cannot fix stupid."
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:00 AM   #21
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chasfm11, I take no offense to your statements. My friend was stupid.

I also think that new laws and licenses would not be the answer. But enforcement of the current laws would be a beginning. Our local ploice are only interested in drug busts and "major" crimes. I know they have to prioritize and that is a major priority. But maybe they need to allocate some officers to traffic control only.

I have a theory. Bust criminals for small offenses, then they are so afraid of the consequences, they would not do the really bad things. But if they get away with the small things, why not try something bigger.
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:26 PM   #22
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chasfm11, I take no offense to your statements. My friend was stupid.

I also think that new laws and licenses would not be the answer. But enforcement of the current laws would be a beginning.
We are in complete agreement. Actually, I'd like to see a new look at the existing laws and have them re-written to clear up a lot of the current problems. I don't see that happening, however. What we don't need, IMHO, is yet another set of laws that don't get enforced. We see how well voluntary compliance with the existing laws is working to that isn't a good reason to pass more.

I agree with you that if the police would start enforcing a broader range of things, it might help. Then I start thinking to myself about the percentages of people who continue to do stupid things even after they are cited for them and have to pay fines. We have laws that are rigorously enforced for cell phone use in school zones. Yet the Town's revenue from continuing citations in that category continues to climb. I'm not sure what it would take to get some of these folks "with the program". I sure don't have and extra $200 lying around that I'm willing to send to the Town because I cannot stay off my cell phone for a few minutes near a school. Apparently, a lot of them do.

I do believe that there are trailer safety issues. I've personally observed them. I just don't believe a) they make the top 10 list of highway hazardous conditions or b) that new laws about them are going to make any difference. It would be interesting to see VA's statistics in 6 months after their new trailer law takes affect. I'm not sure that anyone, including VA residents, would be able to get that information.
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:46 PM   #23
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"A Virginia law that took effect last week requires that any vehicle towing another vehicle or trailer have a trailer hitch or similar device strong enough for the weight of the vehicle or trailer being towed."

What in the world does that mean? How does the trooper on the highway doing a traffic stop determine this? Surely the law is specific in some manner as to not leave those trying to enforce it hanging like this.
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:14 PM   #24
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Old 07-13-2010, 04:35 AM   #25
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The legislature may be trying to send law enforcement a message to step things up and enforce the law. The end result could be that we may be under greater scrutiny when traveling with anything in tow and may be subject to having our towing equipment given greater consideration if we are involved in a traffic mishap.

Dealerships may start getting held more responsible for the unsafe combinations they sell or for the incorrect "expert" advise they give to their customers in regards to towing.

I had one friend who almost bought into setting up her half ton pickup to tow an enourmous fifth wheel that you really needed a one ton truck to pull. That dealer needs to have his records gone through so any who did take that setup can be gotten off the road. He should be sited for criminal negligence and reckless endangerment for each and every one he tried to push out the door like that. Even the travel trailer she did end up with was too much for the truck she had at the time. She ended up getting a bigger truck that is now up to the task of safely pulling and controlling that trailer.
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