‘I thought I’d be okay going a short journey’ – not a worthy excuse for faulty trailer

A driver towing a trailer in Co. Galway used a novel excuse when stopped by An Garda Siochana this week, and thought the fact that he was only travelling a short distance was a sufficient excuse to not have his trailer in order.

The driver was stopped by An Garda Siochana, and on examination of the towed trailer, the Gardai noticed that the piece of equipment had a few very noticeable defects.

Defects identified by An Garda Siochana

  • No registration plate
  • The trailer being towed was not fitted with the correct lights
  • It also had three defective tyres
  • There was no breakaway cable fitted to the hitch of the trailer 

Know the law on towing trailers

According to the RSA (Road Safety Authority), lamps and reflectors are required on vehicles which are used in public places.

It says, that mechanically propelled vehicles need to be fitted with the obligatory lamps and reflectors during the day time as well as during lighting-up hours.

The RSA says, that all agricultural trailers and interchangeable towed equipment must be equipped with side lamps, rear lamps, stop lamps, direction indicators and identification mark lighting.

These trailers must also be fitted with a marker light on the right hand side if the overall combination length exceeds 10m.

Furthermore, certain trailers will need to be fitted with reflectors at all times, it says.

Reflectors must be fitted to the rear and side of certain goods trailers and combinations which exceed an overall length of 11m.

According to the RSA, a category B driving licence allows you to drive a car, van or 4×4 which the maximum weight does not exceed 3,500kg.

Drivers holding a B licence can tow trailers weighing less than 750kg,  if the trailer weight exceeds 750kg, the combined maximum weight of the towing vehicle and the trailer must not exceed 3,500kg.

A category BE driving licence allows you to tow a trailer where the combined maximum weight of the towing vehicle and trailer is greater than 3,500kg.

The maximum speed limit for a vehicle towing a trailer is 80km/h, this applies on all roads, says the RSA.

According to the RSA, the tyre thread depth required for vehicles on Irish roads should not fall below 1.6mm.

It also says that older trailers should be fitted with a chain or wire rope in case of a breakaway.

RSA guidelines on trailer safety

  • All trailers must be fitted with side lamps, rear lamps, stop lamps, direction indicators and identification mark lighting
  • A category B driving licence allows you to drive a car, van or 4×4 which the maximum weight does not exceed  3,500kg.
  • Drivers holding a B licence can tow trailers weighing less than 750kg
  • The maximum speed limit for a vehicle towing a trailer is 80km/h
  • Tyres should not fall below a thread depth of 1.6mm
  • Trailers should be fitted with a chain or wire rope in case of a break away

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