The Gardaí and Road Safety Authority (RSA) jointly carried out an inspection of agricultural vehicles on Irish roads last week to check compliance with – among other things – rules around towing of trailers and similar equipment.

Among one of the vehicles stopped was a trailer which had a cable attached to the breakaway brake, but which was not attached to the towing vehicle (presumably a tractor).

Gardaí took to Twitter to highlight the issue, challenging followers to spot the problem:

Unfortunately, no prizes were offered for correct answers.

‘Class R’ agricultural trailers and towed equipment are required to have a breakaway brake with a minimum brake efficiency of 13.5%.

Unlike the service brake or parking brake, the required efficiency of the breakaway brake is the same irrespective of the trailer’s maximum design speed or design gross vehicle weight (DGVW).

However, older trailers that are designed to be towed at speeds of 40km/h or less can be fitted with a secondary coupling – such as a chain or wire rope – instead of a breakaway brake.

The purpose of the breakaway brake – with a cable to attach it to the towing vehicle – is to apply braking force to the trailer in the event of a breakaway, i.e. the trailer becomes detached from the towing vehicle.

This isn’t the first time that the Gardaí were engaged this month to bring a tractor-trailer combination to a halt.

Earlier this month a tractor driver was brought to a halt in Co. Laois as Gardaí discovered that all four tyres of the towed dump trailer were well below the minimum legal thread depth.

In a statement at the time, Gardaí from the Laois-Offaly division said: “Laois Roads Policing Unit conducting checkpoints with inspectors from the RSA in Borris-in-Ossory stopped a tractor and trailer with four completely worn tyres.”

A fixed charge notice was issued and the vehicle was grounded until the issue was rectified.