New state law for hauling trailers

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A new law focusing on trailer safety will soon take effect. It tightens up existing law in regard to safety devices. The goal is to help prevent accidents on Virginia roads.

It specifically requires vehicles that haul trailers to have a locking device, capable of keeping the trailer attached to the vehicle.

We see it all the time - vehicles towing trailers. We've also seen the two separate while on the roadway.

Last year in Dinwiddie County a teen driver was hauling a utility trailer when it became disconnected. The trailer crossed into oncoming traffic, smashed into a car - killing the driver. And last month on I-95 northbound just south of the 295 interchange, a trailer carried by a Ford truck began to sway. It and the truck overturned causing traffic to come to a stand-still.

Starting July first new rules aimed at improving trailer safety in the commonwealth will become law.

"It adds stipulation with regard to the carrying capacity of the hitch to make sure the chain and cable are adequate to restrain something if there's breaking," said Senator John Watkins, who introduced the bill.

The new law also requires all trailers to have an emergency chain or cable - capable of keeping the trailer attached to the vehicle. Motorists we spoke with who haul items in trailers support the new law. David Austin has taken it a step further.

"I even have a rear view camera mounted on the car so I can watch the trailer from in the cab while I'm pulling my load. It's dangerous enough without having to worry about your trailer coming loose," Austin said.

Those who violate the law can face a fine. The cost depends on the severity of the infraction.

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