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New Virginia law highlights trailer safety

RICHMOND—Virginia’s trailer laws recently were updated to help keep motorists safe.

Effective July 1, a fifth wheel, drawbar, trailer hitch or similar device must be structurally adequate for the weight being drawn and properly secured and mounted. It also should provide for adequate articulation at the connection without excessive slack and have a locking device that prevents accidental separation of the trailer and passenger vehicle.

"It’s important that the hitch on the tow vehicle is connected to the frame of the vehicle and has a frame-mounted hitch with the proper size ball mount and ball," said Bruce Stone, safety manager for Virginia Farm Bureau. "You also should use a padlock to secure a tongue-locking device; however, a pin and bolt would work too."

Since 1988, more than 400 people have died on U.S. roadways in trailer separation accidents.

A part of the law that isn’t new is that reflectors or reflective material is required to be displayed on the rear part of a trailer.

Every utility trailer that does not require state inspection should have two or more reflectors on the rear part of the trailer or at least 100 square inches of solid reflective material.

Contact Stone at 804-290-1381.

Posted in: Auto Safety


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