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DVSA to increase trailer and caravan safety checks

Drivers are being urged to carry out simple trailer and caravan safety checks as the DVSA increases roadside stops over the next few weeks. As travel restrictions ease, the DVSA anticipates that many people will be heading into the great outdoors with their caravans and trailers to enjoy the bank holiday weekend and half term.

Data from roadside checks carried out by the DVSA between September 2019 and January 2021 shows around one in six caravans had a serious safety problem, a figure which rises to nearly 40% of small trailers. The main safety issues included lights, illegal tyres, breakaway cable problems and poor brakes.

In support of the #towsafe4freddie campaign, the DVSA is urging drivers to carry out ‘SAFE’ caravan and trailer checks:

Service – get a free trailer safety check or visit your garage if needed

Air in tyres – check pressure, tread depth, condition, and age

Fit the breakaway cable or safety chain and check electrical connections and cables

Examine lights, load and weight limit, mirrors and do the jockey wheel test

Three-year-old Freddie Hussey was killed when a trailer became unhitched as he walked near his home in Bristol in 2014. The #towsafe4freddie campaign was set up to remind all drivers to carry out basic safety checks each time they tow.

Mark Winn, the DVSA’s chief driving examiner, said: “DVSA’s priority is to help you keep your caravan or trailer safe to use on Britain’s roads. “It’s great to see caravans and trailers returning to the road but drivers who tow have a special responsibility to ensure they #towsafe4freddie.

“Many caravans and trailers have been parked up over winter, so we’re urging drivers who are new to towing or haven’t towed for a while to carry out some simple checks. Our request is, whatever you’re towing, make it SAFE.”

DVSA’s roadside spot checks take around 20 minutes each and will look at safety features including lights, tyres, breakaway cable and brakes. If a caravan or trailer isn’t safe, the driver will be unable to continue until the defect is fixed.

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