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-   -   Risk of Towing Beyond the Limits (

Pete Dumbleton 05-25-2008 05:24 PM

Here's some stuf I found for a discussion on another RV group. Those
of you who contribute to other specialty groups who tow using UK/AU
specs might consider posting this to those groups.


Here's some pertinent stuf I extracted from that link, posted in 2004:

"Well, after almost a year has passed since my buddy lost control of
his FS3000 toy hauler being pulled by his F-250 coming down Sierra
pass. He had sway bars and bags. The trailer swayed somehow and took
over the control of his tow rig. He ended up smashing into another
vehicle and the passenger in the other was killed and the driver injured.

The highway patrol cited him for hauling the trailer with a tow
vehicle that was not rated for the weights of the trailer even though
he was not too loaded up. The injured sued him big time, the insurance
company disowned him due to the fact that he was improperly rigged and
was "using his vehicle for purposes not intended by the manufacturer"
even though they insured both vehicles.

He is awaiting trial for manslaughter, lost a civil suit for 1.2
million dollars, of which he was able to get 300,000 dollars from his
insurances company sold his home, toys and vacation property to pay
for it.

His wife divorced him and he is probably going to do some time.

Bottom line is the man is broke, lost his wife, affected PERMANENTLY
the life of another man, and killed a woman all because he didn't want
to spend another few grand for the right sized tow vehicle."

"I would like to know if the CHP weighed his rig to know how much it
weighed. They must have in order for people to win a suit against him."

"Yes they weighed his rig after the accident and he was cited AFTER
the accident. They were thorough in the investigation, after all,
there was a death....He was one of these guys who liked to make "time"
and was not the least afraid, or as I like to think about it,
"reverent" to the fact he was hauling a lot of weight and should drive
like a semi driver as opposed to a sports car driver. I am sure these
things came into play. He only got the insurance because they had
insured both rigs, thus implying they knew he was hauling with the
truck. They paid their limits and walked away, disowning him like a
hot potato."

Donna D. 05-25-2008 05:32 PM

A sad conclusion all the way around.

The first words out of a defense attorney's mouth to his/her client quite often is:
"Ignorance is not a defense."

The first words out of a prosecutor's mouth is:
"Willfully and knowingly..."

I often apply a simple rule to my life. "Just because I can, doesn't mean I should."

I think all three sayings apply to towing a trailer.

Thanks for sharing and the reminder Pete. :yep

Pete Dumbleton 05-25-2008 05:33 PM


Posted: 01/25/06 03:17pm
k9jadon wrote:

...In CA with any fatal accident the CHP dispatches a specially trained group of Officers to the accident scene to investigate everything that happened/went wrong. Can you imagine the liability if it was proven in a court that Ford Chevy or Dodge inflated their tow ratings for sales purposes and it resulted in a fatal or even a serious accident? We all saw the NBC report where they had a car t-bone a truck and it burst into flames... we now know NBC faked that but imagine if NBC or any media outlet had REAL evidence of detroit overinflating tow ratings for sales and it caused accidents.

Sask, Canada

This is standard procedure in almost any jurisdiction. What you described in the first sentence is my job description. Weighing the vehicles is one of the standard steps in any investigation I do. Not necessarily for checking to see if the combo is overweight (which is a side benefit), but more specifically for momentum calculations in a 2+ vehicle collision. If a vehicle was grossly overloaded it would certainly be discovered. Whether or not it caused or contributed to the collision would be a case by case issue.

Patrick M. 05-26-2008 10:24 AM

The specs on a 2008 FS3000 toy hauler are:
Hitch Weight - 1,095 lbs
Gross Weight - 13,000 lbs
Cargo Weight - 5,800 lbs

A 2007 F250 diesel's towing capacity: 12,500 lbs

Well, I just finished reading all 16 pages of that thread, and a related one at and one at a Ford Truck forum Although the OP at GlamisDunes said it was a friend's story, he never followed up with what happened to him, or what the cause of the initial swaying that lead to the accident. He was not cited for speeding, but allegedly for being over-weight, which many posters claimed was not against CA law for non-commercial vehicles. I suspect speeding lead to loss of control with an inadequately sway-controlled trailer, and the resulting accident.

Pete Dumbleton 05-26-2008 04:06 PM

Ignoring the specifics of this one case, the points are that law enforcement may weigh the vehicles involved in crashes with serious injuries and the Gxxx numbers may be used in civil/criminal court to assess responsibility.

Note that one responder on the weights was from an Canadian jurisdiction, so the concepts are international, not just USofA.

Daniel V. 05-26-2008 05:52 PM

I haven't gone through all the threads yet, but one frustrating thing that comes to mind is why/how do so many manufacturers (more specifically salespeople) get away with telling customers they can pull things they shouldn't, and make them believe their trailer is lighter than it really is. And this applies to classifieds too (and probably unknowingly since this culture is seemingly passed on from owner to owner). "Only 950 lbs! You can pull it with a Tercel!". Ignorance is not a defense, but I do wonder if there are any cases of sellers getting sued for misleading people.

Pete Dumbleton 05-26-2008 06:39 PM

I suspect it doesn't happen often because the written word (plate on vehicle, Owner's Manual, tow guides, etc.) are likely to be given more weight than verbal assurances (esp from salesperson...). Also, the odds really are that most people will get away with towing above limits without causing an accident with severe injuries.

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