We have laws and basic safety regulations for car, trucks, motorcycles, and pretty much every other type of motorized vehicle. But what about an attachment to these vehicles? Not so much. Take, for example, trailers. If a trailer weighs less than 3,000 pounds there are virtually no safety regulations. This lack of oversight has translated into runaway trailers on highways and an increasing number of people seriously injured or killed due to runaway trailer.
The most common occurrence features a trailer detaching from a vehicle and becoming an injury torpedo directed towards an on-coming vehicle. The results are devastating. Vehicles can be sliced in two or completely demolished if they’re struck by a runaway trailer. So what can we do to correct this problem? Well, there are actually a number of common sense solutions lawmakers could implement.
1.)Require the safety lights on each trailer to be fully functioning and operational
The police have the right to pull you over if your brake light has burned out. The same should apply to the lights on a trailer. Many safety lights do not work and pose a challenge to drivers trying to navigate behind, or around, vehicles with these trailers.
2.)Require some type of reflective material on ALL trailers
The regulations in place provide many loopholes and are basically ineffective. New regulations requiring some type of reflective material (e.g. tape, mesh, etc.) for all trailers; no exclusions for weight or the “type” of trailer.
3.)Create fines for drivers who fail to meet the two regulations listed above
For these regulations to actually work, they need to have some muscle behind them. That’s why there has to be an enforcement mechanism for police officers. Some type of fine or citation is necessary so drivers understand the ramifications of failing to safely attach and handle their trailers. The same logic has been applied to texting while driving. Numerous states, including Virginia (VA), levy pretty hefty fines against drivers who are caught texting while behind the wheel. If these common sense solutions are enacted, the number of runaway trailer accidents leading to serious injury or death should decrease. But if we continue down the path we’re on, I fear we’ll see more and more tragic stories like Caitlyn Johnson.