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Old 10-22-2012, 10:18 AM   #1
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Break-a-way Systems

What is a breakaway system. Is it required and how does it work. Would it interfere with a break buddy system. Thank you for your help
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:45 AM   #2
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Usually brake buddy and other systems come with a break away feature. Mine certainly did. It simply applies the brake if the tow breaks away from the hitch and the safety chains (depending on the length of the cable to the activator). It is activated by a cable attached to the hitch that pulls the pin from the activator. When you get to the end of the cable the brakes go on full force.

I can't tell you if it is required by law in every state I'm sure some states have requirements it just makes sense but I can't recite the law for you.
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:52 AM   #3
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BrakeBuddy - Braking systems for motorhomes towing a vehicle
You might find this interesting. It has the break away system listed and claims made about state laws and requirements. Use your own judgement about the efficacy of the claims. Perhaps they are not exact but they represent the "spirit" of the law. Like having tow brakes in the first place regardless of the laws it is a good idea; the same is true of break away systems IMHO.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:47 PM   #4
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A breakaway system is a device that applies the brakes on the towed vehicle or trailer if it ever breaks loose form the tow. It is generally operated by a switch that is tied via an independent cable from towed vehicle to tow towing vehicle (motorhome). If the two bar or tow dolly fails and breaks loose form the tow, the cable yanks the switch and triggers the brake system in the toad to apply and stop the toad.

Most state laws require a trailer to have a breakaway system, but trailer laws do not generally apply to towed cars. It's still a darn good idea, though, and some states may have laws that specifically apply to cars (but I cannot cite one for you).
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:11 PM   #5
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The thing with brakes being required on toads or dolly's is that the laws of each state you're in apply to them, not what your home state requires. So if you EVER travel into a state that requires brakes on a towed or dolly then you need them. There is no reciprocity on equipment requirements like there is on drivers licenses.
I've also found that almost every site that publishes braking requirements is flat out wrong in many instances. And the Brake Buddy one linked above is wrong too for at least WA and CA which change to a "performance spec" like OR when towing a motorized vehicle four down.
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:39 PM   #6
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Regardless of state laws, I got one because "I" am more comfotable with it. An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
There is no reciprocity on equipment requirements like there is on drivers licenses.
That's not 100% true, but I doubt if there is any reciprocity on towing gear. I wouldn't want to bet on it, in any case.

Many vehicle equipment issues are adjudicated at the time a vehicle is titled or registered, e.g. allowable windshield size and tint, wiper blades, headlights, etc. If your equipment is sufficient to allow the vehicle to be legally titled in your state, reciprocity for the title carries with it the right to legally use the vehicle in other states. Towing equipment, though, is auxiliary stuff and does not fall into this category.

Sorry to nitpick!
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Old 10-23-2012, 12:19 PM   #8
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My thoughts are "Better to Have and Not Need, Than to Need and Not Have". It's not just a legal thing, it's a safety thing.
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:28 PM   #9
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No matter what the state traffic and vehicle laws say.. IF your towed comes loose from the towign vehicle and runs wild, hits and kills someone (or even if it does not kill them) and their lawyer is any good at all. If he finds you did not have a break away.

Look up "Reckless Enganderment" and the kind of very large numbers that can entail.
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:27 AM   #10
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Well, the primary "breakaway device" is the safety cable that is required by most (if not all) state laws. That is supposed to keep the toad with the coach even if the tow bar breaks. The brake-unit type of breakaway is sort of a last resort.
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