Do trailer owners need to upgrade to current laws? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-26-2007, 06:26 PM   #1
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The question was raised whether owners of older trailers (in my case a 2002 Casita) need to research all State and Federal Laws pertaining to the manufacture of new trailers and to retrofit with currently required equipment.

My 2002 does NOT have a Break-Away switch for the brakes, and all new trailers having brakes must have such switches (capable to keeping the brakes locked for at least 15 continuous minutes).

One site said that one is liable to both Federal and State Motor Vehicle fines and punishment for not having such a switch.

Have all of you modified your trailers to 2007 standards, or are we "grandfathered" as of the date of manufacture of our trailers?

Thanks,
Bob
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Old 06-26-2007, 06:35 PM   #2
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Hi Bob
I installed a breakaway switch on my previous 17ft Boler.I wasn't concerned so much about the law as i wanted to be more safe when on roads.The cost was minimal.
I can't speak for any laws in the USA.
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Old 06-26-2007, 06:59 PM   #3
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Hi Bob
I installed a breakaway switch on my previous 17ft Boler.[b]I wasn't concerned so much about the law as i wanted to be more safe when on roads.The cost was minimal.
I can't speak for any laws in the USA.
One of our Casita guys just had his break-away cable snag activating his brakes w/ one wheel on pavement, and one off. It rolled the entire rig multiple times.

Fortunately, there were no serious injuries despite the TV occupants needing to be cut out of their full sized pickup. The Casita stayed hitched for the entire ride, but stayed together remarkably well, BTW.

In some cases, the brakes can CAUSE the accident.

Bob
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Old 06-26-2007, 07:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
One of our Casita guys just had his break-away cable snag activating his brakes w/ one wheel on pavement, and one off. It rolled the entire rig multiple times.

Fortunately, there were no serious injuries despite the TV occupants needing to be cut out of their full sized pickup. The Casita stayed hitched for the entire ride, but stayed together remarkably well, BTW.

In some cases, the brakes can CAUSE the accident.
Bob
Yes i know about that accident.
I guess to do some form of comparison,i would look at seat belts. With belts on you would have a better chance of living BUT there are time when they could cause you great harm. More lives saved with seat belts than with out them.

I would think breakaway switches would fall into a similar situation.

PS:
I am no expert.This is just my opinion.
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Old 06-26-2007, 07:25 PM   #5
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Break away switches are all of 15 bucks here in the US.

They are not complicated to install.

In California, yes, even if the trailer is old, you still have to get one, if it has brakes. I was amazed my 99 did not have one when I bought it, and it was licensed!
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Old 06-26-2007, 07:30 PM   #6
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In California the law is:
“Breakaway switches are also required for any trailer having a gross weight of 1500 lbs. or more and manufactured after December 31, 1955.”

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/dl648/dl648pt12.htm
Scroll down to Hitch Adjustment and read through the section.
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Old 06-26-2007, 07:42 PM   #7
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Mike has nailed the California situation.

In more general terms, the requirements for new vehicles and vehicles operated on the road are often quite separate. In Canada, new vehicles must meet Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to be legal for sale - a federal regulation. What actually operates on the roads, on the other hand, is governed by provincial regulations. The provincial regs (like state regs) are much less specific, and may not require equipment which is required by the federal laws on new vehicles.

It is common for newly required equipment to be specifically not required on vehicles built before the date that the new vehicle requirement came into effect. The California breakaway switch is an example; for motor vehicles, features such as high-level brake lights (CHMSTL) and - in Canada - daytime running lights fall into this category.

I'm not aware of any requirement applying to trailers here in Alberta which is missing from my 1979 Boler's original equipment. But it had a breakaway switch stock, even then.
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:44 AM   #8
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Casita didn't used to put them on because the posted dry weight was less than the 3,000# (?) requirement in the state of Texas. I think they finally realized that most, if not all, of the loaded 17s were exceeding that so it became standard equipement. Aside from the safety issue, when you consider it is the law in many states and provinces for trailers that weight much less, then it's a good thing to have.

I purchased one for my 16', but it's still not attached.
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