Who vets the safety issues on these little campers? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-06-2013, 12:20 PM   #1
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Who vets the safety issues on these little campers?

Moderator's note: This thread was split from the Parkliner Tire Rub Issues thread.

At first glance that scenario is really scary - but is the photo shown only a suggested solution or is that actually on a trailer being sold? Who determines safety issues on all these trailers (PK or any other brand)? Are there permits or inspections? Any group like Underwriters Laboratories? This is a bigger question than just PK and batteries. Is it up to us consumers to know all about this (I have ordered a Snoozy and am wondering about any possible safety issues there)? Presumably, the owner (Chandler) is experienced and wants to put out a safe and good product.
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Old 10-06-2013, 12:24 PM   #2
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I think I just answered my first question as I see this photo on another thread where a fellow is selling his very new PL and posted some photos. So now the other question remains - who vets the safety issues on these little campers or is up to the experience and technical education and common sense of the buyer?
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Old 10-06-2013, 12:34 PM   #3
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Melanie, IMO, the buyer should be doing their own homework and then deciding if any issues that they see are something that they want to deal with. For example, if I was interested in purchasing this trailer, I would be willing to do the work to relocate these batteries into a box.
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Old 10-06-2013, 12:40 PM   #4
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I agree that buyers should do some homework (just like for anything else we buy). What I am wondering is if there are state or federal regulations for these fiberglass campers and safety standards that must be met. It seems that almost everything nowadays has to meet some objective standards to be licensed and these vehicles are going to be on the public roads. Of course, that does not relieve us buyers of looking for ourselves, but it should not be necessary to be an expert in all these technical areas to buy a safe camper.
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Old 10-06-2013, 01:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Melanie B in NC View Post
I agree that buyers should do some homework (just like for anything else we buy). What I am wondering is if there are state or federal regulations for these fiberglass campers and safety standards that must be met. It seems that almost everything nowadays has to meet some objective standards to be licensed and these vehicles are going to be on the public roads. Of course, that does not relieve us buyers of looking for ourselves, but it should not be necessary to be an expert in all these technical areas to buy a safe camper.
Hello, Melanie. I have the same concern that you do. Having purchased trailers in Canada, my husband and I learned that it is a requirement there that all travel trailers be inspected and must have a safety inspection sticker. That is a good thing for American purchasers, as this is a necessity for any imported trailer less than 25 years old. On the other hand, anyone that wants to in the U.S. can manufacture a trailer and is not required by law to have their product inspected (even though this is necessary when importing one!). It is optional, and many manufacturers pay the fee and opt to do this. Others do not want to go through this process and/or pay the fees required, nor make the changes they would have to make in order to pass the inspections. Many who purchase travel trailers are new to the experience and do not know about all of the potential safety hazards that could exist in any given trailer. So, unfortunately, it is "buyer beware" and since you are informed on these issues, you can make sure that your Lil' Snoozy has all of this in place. Not sure if that company opts for the inspection process. It seems that all manufacturers would at least be aware of the safety guidelines and would follow them, but this is obviously not always the case. A scary thought! Perhaps some states have more requirements than others in this area; I don't know.
Linda
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Old 10-06-2013, 02:12 PM   #6
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I have taught job safety and Osha for over 10 years and have been the safety director for 2 businesses , One thing I have learned is that if a safety device takes a positive action to be employed that it is often not used and once a safety device is removed it is often not replaced or reinstalled. How many of you have seen a table saw with the blade guard removed or people grinding metal with no face shield . Expecting untrained people to know what safety precautions or measures to take or expecting a warning label to stop unsafe actions is in my opinion foolish . Safety measures often MUST be engineered into a product and it is obvious that PL did not take the time or effort to safely engineer their new battery location In the rush to solve one problem , we often create new, additional and worse problems
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Old 10-06-2013, 03:09 PM   #7
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I have taught job safety and Osha for over 10 years and have been the safety director for 2 businesses , One thing I have learned is that if a safety device takes a positive action to be employed that it is often not used and once a safety device is removed it is often not replaced or reinstalled. How many of you have seen a table saw with the blade guard removed or people grinding metal with no face shield . Expecting untrained people to know what safety precautions or measures to take or expecting a warning label to stop unsafe actions is in my opinion foolish . Safety measures often MUST be engineered into a product and it is obvious that PL did not take the time or effort to safely engineer their new battery location In the rush to solve one problem , we often create new, additional and worse problems
Very true! Do you know how we could access a list of the safety standards that a trailer manufacturer would have to follow in the U.S.?
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Old 10-06-2013, 05:02 PM   #8
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Standards

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Very true! Do you know how we could access a list of the safety standards that a trailer manufacturer would have to follow in the U.S.?
Linda
OSHA does not generally set standards for manufactured products. A lot of the standards in OSHA such as hard hat standards are set by ANSI . Unfortunately my OSHA and ANSI standards books were recently stolen from my vehicle . You may be able to find the CFR's relating to trailers on the internet unfortunately the standards relating to trailers may be in several volumes and refer you to other publications . OSHA regulations on electrical refer you to ANSI, the NEC and several other publication plus they are often written in a manner that makes sense only to one that is trained in that discipline . I do not know if there is a single standard written that covers trailers
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Old 10-06-2013, 05:50 PM   #9
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Rvia ????

I think that someone in this thread is of the opinion that it's mandatory that FGRV buyers be savvy on everything from tire loading to electrical design to understanding weight and balance for towing etc., etc., all before they buy a rig. Fortunately that's not true. I say fortunately because it if was true, the number of new RV's being sold would drop drastically, as we saw about 4 years back, when that bubble popped.

Even more unfortunate is that the RV Industry is somewhat self-regulating, they make up their own rules.

However, there is the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, and they do set some standards for builders that are supposedly followed by members. They claim that 95% of all RV's built in the U.S. are built by their members and to their standards, but I don't know which, if any FGRV builders are members of this organization.

Here is a link to some of the standards they have put forth:
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association: Standards

This is not meant to be supportive of the RVIA in any way, I am only presenting the information in response to a question.
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Old 10-06-2013, 06:43 PM   #10
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Here is a link to some of the standards they have put forth:
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association: Standards
Thanks, Bob, for the info. Another reason why this forum is so valuable: for those purchasers who are limited in background, they can find not only factual information, but learn about experiences from actual owners.

It is ironic, I think, that all imported trailers must have a seal equivalent to the RVIA certification in the U.S., but it is not needed if one purchases a trailer in the U.S.(unless it is being exported into Canada). However, I would presume that if any given RV was found to have safety problems on all of its products that were not being addressed by the manufacturer, there could be consequences with the NHTSA. If an owner has safety concerns about any vehicle (travel trailers fall in this category), a complaint can be filed at this location: https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/

While certification of any trailer isn't required, I think it is presumed that all of the safety guidelines will be followed by manufacturers. I am not sure of consequences if they aren't, but apparently there are fines for ignoring some of these issues.
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Old 10-06-2013, 07:49 PM   #11
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The RVIA is more like a "Club" than a governing organization. For example, it was the RVIA that made the rule that it was OK to sell a motorhome with a chassis that was one or even two years older than the year of the motorhome itself. Soooo if you bought a 2013 Camp-O-lodge for $150,000 and it was built on a 2011 chassis, according to their rule book, that's OK.

But they do put forth some standards that the insurance companies seem to like, but as far as a quality build, fergetit.

As far as non-compliant builds by members, as far as I know they have no enforcement ability other than to prohibit use of the RIVA plaque, and they can kick you out of the club.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:42 AM   #12
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While there may be few, if any, industry standards and codified requirements, that doesn't excuse poor design, engineering or construction. The world is full of shyster lawyers looking for any kind of product deficiencies they can find, along with "injured parties" that they can sue on behalf of. There's always somebody looking for a deep pocket. If someone was to be injured or killed, and an attorney can show that it was caused by poor design, poor craftsmanship, or faulty construction, you can bet they'll be all over that!
Caveat Emptor Baby!
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:37 AM   #13
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"There's always somebody looking for a deep pocket."
That pretty much leaves the FGRV builders in a safe zone. Unless (until?) Warren Buffet adds one to his collection of RV builders, there's no deep pocket's there.... LOL
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:06 PM   #14
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With our back ground in manufacturing we understand the importance of partnering with other entities for their expertise/guidelines/suggestions and resources to protect our customers (and yes this does also provide some protection to the company as well) and provide the safest possible product to our customers.

We have certifications with UL, CSA, NAHB as well as having to meet several federal and state regulations in our other product offerings.
So when we decided to go into the RV industry that was one of our 1st steps to find out who in this industry was available?
RVIA was our first choice. When they first came to visit us back in 2006 (or around that time) we had a proto type constructed that they crawled all over and brought several items to our attention that needed to be changed. These items ranged from wiring to having every item accessible for either repair or replacement. As an ongoing member they make 6 surprise visits a year to inspect our line and insure we are following the proper manufacturing procedures. You can find out more from their website.

Then earlier this year we also joined NATM (National Association of Trailer Manufactures) that covers DOT compliance with the trailer weights, proper clearance and marker lights, hitches and tow chains to mention a few items.

So there are options for the manufactures but not much mandated by the government that I am aware of.

Hope this helps.
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