With the school summer holidays approaching, the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) is urging drivers to make sure their trailers are safe.
Through its #towsafe4freddie campaign, launched in November 2016, the DVSA is calling on drivers who use a trailer to carry out simple safety checks before setting off on their journey.
Now with summer approaching – a time when trailer usage increases – DVSA is echoing the plea for drivers to make sure that brakes and lights are undamaged and working correctly, and that the coupling height is correct.
The DVSA is also encouraging drivers to use a breakaway cable or secondary coupling for additional safety.
The #towsafe4freddie campaign was the result of an approach to the DVSA from the parents of toddler Freddie Hussey, who was killed in January 2014 by a trailer which ‘decoupled’.
Freddie was walking with his mother in Bedminster, Bristol, when a 2-tonne trailer became unattached from a Land Rover. The trailer mounted the kerb before hitting Freddie. The investigation into Freddie’s death found that the trailer’s handbrake lever was in the wrong place.
In support of the campaign, the DVSA has produced a short video (featured) with important information on checks that should be made to the towball and connections, wheels and tyres, lights and indicators, and loads and weight limits.
Jesse Norman, transport minister, said: “The awful death of three year-old Freddie Hussey makes clear how important it is to make sure trailers are towed safely.
“Especially at this time of year, when trailer hire will be on the rise again, it is essential that drivers carry out a few quick and simple checks to make sure their trailer is safe. That way with luck we can avoid a repeat of this terrible tragedy."
Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive, said: “The DVSA’s first priority is to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles. So we’re urging all those using trailers for the first time, as well as those who use them regularly, to take a few minutes to ensure that your trailer is safe.
“Even a short journey with an unsecure or unroadworthy trailer puts lives at risk, as the death of three-year-old Freddie Hussey tragically shows.”