Are Towing Mirrors Required ??

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 20:03
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I seem to see a lot of caravans being towed without towing mirrors on the tug.

I am curious to know what the current legal requirements are these days, and does it vary state to state ??



Ken
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Reply By: Batt's - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 20:35

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 20:35
As far as I know it was a legal requirement to be able to see behind you and you are required to remove them when not towing.
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Reply By: Pathycop - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 20:35

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 20:35
Hi Ken. I drive a car with blue and red flashing lights for a living. I can tell you , without getting all technical about things, in Victoria that it is a legal requirement to have clear vision behind you (via your mirrors.)

Graeme
AnswerID: 509693

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 21:06

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 21:06
Graeme

Firstly I do not want to run off at a tangent and start a pedantic number crunching side issue.

Are there any figures or distances and angles included in the rule?

I could see behind me with my side mirror to the van my old Chesney without extension mirrors. I could see past it but NOT see "along the side" of it and thus at a distance behind it.

Is that okay or must I be able to see "down the side" of the towed vehicle?

Phil


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Follow Up By: Pathycop - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 21:35

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 21:35
Phil. There are no fancy figures involved at all. Which is surprising with legislation!

You must just have clear view BEHIND you, so that means you must be able to see down the side of whatever you are towing.

My test is if I line up my eyesight down the side of he van whilst following behind a towing combi, I like to be able to see your face/eyes in the side mirror whilst travelling a safe distance behind. Basically the same as if you were not towing but obviously the exact angles and distances are different.
As i said, not fancy. But it works

Graeme
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 21:42

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 21:42
Excellent explanation. Just plain old common sense.

Thanks mate.

Phil
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Reply By: Dave Perth - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 20:46

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 20:46
Hi Ken,
By coincidence I was discussing this today with someone and they confirmed it is required in WA too...
Cheers, Dave
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Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 20:51

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 20:51
Yes, and yes for every state.

From WA Drive Safe who put it simply

"Ensure your car is fitted with good exterior mirrors so you can clearly see behind you when towing a trailer or caravan."

Having a rear view camera makes to difference to the legislation.

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 22:37

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 22:37
Typo there

Having a rear view camera makes NO difference to the requirement to have mirrors.

Mh
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Follow Up By: V8 Troopie - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 00:02

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 00:02
While it may not legally make a difference it certainly does from this drivers point of view.
I tow a 26' trailerable sailboat and in my towing extension mirrors (the type that attaches to the door window & bottom) I cannot see any car that's following close up behind the boat. Yet, on the rear view camera, which is attached at the aft end of the boat, I can clearly see the car and its indicators coming on in case he/she wants to overtake.
I now adjust the extension mirrors to mainly monitor the trailer wheels as the camera is so much better for any views further back.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 00:05

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 00:05
Rear view cameras are a real bonus for seeing what is close behind you or even further back in straight stretches. Recommended for caravanners.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Pathycop - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 00:11

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 00:11
Couldn't agree more. Get a camera too if you can afford it very beneficial and become more so the longer the trailer you are tugging along as your angle of vision will diminish particularly 26 ft boats.
You shouldn't get any issue using even only a camera as the law only says "must have a clear view to the front, both side and the rear". Nowhere does it state by what means. I would always have the mirrors though for when the electronics die like they always do and just at the wrong moment.

Graeme
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 00:27

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 00:27
Hi Graeme

That is an interesting statement, as printed materials I have seen refer to mirrors. Mirrors are of course essential for seeing traffic coming alongside, including those overtaking who have left the scope of the rear view camera.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Pathycop - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 00:47

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 00:47
Hi Mh

I'm sure most printed material would suggest the use of mirrors as that is the most obvious way of satisfying the relevant road rule. I can only speak for Victoria in that the actual offence is just " fail to have clear view". There is no specific rule about mirrors. In certain circumstances no doubt a camera will provide that clear view, but I would suggest always having the mirrors as they provide the clear view down the sides of the van that the camera can't. As most roads are not always dead straight you can always get an idea of what is behind as you go round curves etc.
so mirrors at minimum and add a camera if you have the cash.

Road Rule 297 (2) states:

(2) A driver must not drive a motor vehicle unless the
driver has a clear view of the road, and traffic,
ahead, behind and to each side of the driver.
Penalty: 5 penalty units.

Graeme
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 00:52

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 00:52
This is an oft debated point on forums Graeme, with quotes such as mine specifying mirrors. You have given us a qualified alternative viewpoint.

Mh
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Follow Up By: ozjohn0 - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 09:18

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 09:18
A rear view camera is a great addition to mirrors, but not in lieu of them.
Mirrors are a Federal requirement covered by ADR 14/02.
Have a look at Section 15 on this website.
www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2006L02663/Download
Cheers, Ozjohn.
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Follow Up By: Pathycop - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 09:37

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 09:37
Thanks John. The Adrs refer to the minimum design requirements of a motor vehicle and does state that mirrors are required to be fitted to all vehicles. That is not what the op is questioning. The op was specific about Towing mirrors. These are covered by the road rules in that yes all vehicles must be able to have clear view behind etc. the adrs say you must have mirrors, the road rules expand by saying not only must you have mirrors but they must also provide clear view behind what is being towed. Ie fitting extended towing mirrors. Hope that makes sense
Graeme
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 09:59

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 09:59
In clarification ( I think) of Graemes's point - the vehicle (any vehicle) must have mirrors and must have a clear view. Whether they are wide mirrors fitted especially for (and only while) towing, or the standard mirrors supplemented with rear view camera for seeing behind the trailer, is what is usually hotly debated.

As quoted from the WA Drive Safe booklet

"Ensure your car is fitted with good exterior mirrors so you can clearly see behind you when towing a trailer or caravan."

It is the ability to have the required vision of the rear of your trailer rather than specifying the type of mirror to use.

For example when we towed the same caravan with the F250 that we towed with the Nissan Patrol, the effective mirror vision with the standard F250 mirrors was as good as we had with the towing mirrors on the Patrol. To make sure we were not questioned, we purchased 'slide out for towing' F250 mirrors. The added vehicle width plus the wide mirrors make so much difference that my husband no long turns the rear view camera on.

Mh
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Reply By: Nomad Navara - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 09:22

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 09:22
How can you know what is behind you with out these mirrors.It could be you holding up an emergency vehicle or even a line of traffic?. How do you know if another vehicle is about to overtake yours until they are along side of you?.Very dangerous and inconsiderate to other motorists by not taking the time and effort to fit them.
AnswerID: 509721

Reply By: Keith H7 - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 09:43

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 09:43
Great discussion. The key is as long as you can see within the line of sight as specified in Federal requirement covered by ADR 14/02.
Have a look at Section 15 in www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2006L02663/Download - Legislative Instrument.

If the current mirrors which may be extendable cover the line of sight I beleive you are OK. However I would think that standard vehicle rear vision mirrors would not survice.

I do know it is illegal to have extended mirrors on your vehicle when you are not towing.

Fot the sake of $60 - $80 a set, the safety to all of us on the road, I would get a set.
AnswerID: 509725

Follow Up By: Pathycop - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:27

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:27
Thanks Motherhen for making that clear. I look at it this wAy.
Rule one. All vehicles must have mirrors as per ADR s.
there is a specific offence for failing to comply with a requirement for registration but this is not specifically about towing.
Rule 2. You must have a clear view behind and to the sides etc
This has its own specific offence as I previously posted. And this offense does not specify mirrors as the tool. But common sense tells us that mirrors are the only way to get side views, but mirrors and or a camera will get the rear view.
So if your van is wider than your car you will need to extend your mirrors. If you van is narrower than your car then you will be ok with just a camera.
Graeme
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Follow Up By: Pathycop - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:33

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:33
Hi again Keith. There isno actual of fence for having extended mirrors on your car when driving without the van on. The road rule is about having and sideways protrusion of more than 150mm past the fixed car mirrors. For instance when you see the concreting guys carrying loads of rip on top of their tipper and the rio is wider than the tipper. Same offence. It's not specific about the actual offending item.

Graeme
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Follow Up By: ozjohn0 - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 14:35

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 14:35
Graeme.
There are heaps of sites that say when, how and why mirrors maybe or are required, but the link I posted on the regualtions shows a 'Footprint' in section 15 of ADR 14/02 that is required by all towing vehicles.
These 'Footprints' can only be obtained with mirrors (Reflected image)and not with rear view cameras.
Cheers, ozjohn.
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Reply By: robsil - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:14

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:14
Seen recently $70,000. approx caravan being towed by an Audi of similar value or more both very new and no mirrors other than what was standard on the car. Why wouldnt you spend the extra $$$$ for a decent set of mirrors, and i did not see any sign of a rear camera on the van, i just dont get it!! Bob
AnswerID: 509728

Reply By: KenInPerth - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:25

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:25
Thanks to all for this information.

I am going to open another thread about type of mirror - yes I know it has been covered before but I am curious about opinion on current mirrors available on couple of specific vehicles.

Pathycop may have a view from his side regarding one of the vehicles.

Ken

AnswerID: 509731

Reply By: Neil & Pauline - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:48

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:48
My advice from road safety people is that I must be able to see a vehicle approaching from the rear and see a vehicle overtaking on either side. Legislation does not stipulate how this requirement is achieved, except it is written if mirrors are used you must be able to see the rear corners of the towed vehicle.

Neil
AnswerID: 509733

Reply By: ozjohn0 - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 14:41

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 14:41
Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 1998

34 Rear vision mirrors
(1) A rear vision mirror or mirrors must be fitted to a motor vehicle as required by this clause so that a driver of the vehicle can clearly see by reflection the road behind the vehicle and any following or overtaking vehicle.
(2) At least 1 rear vision mirror must be fitted to:
(a) a car, and
(b) a motor trike with 2 front wheels, and
(c) a motor bike, or motor trike with 1 front wheel, built before July 1975.
(3) At least 1 rear vision mirror must be fitted to each side of the motor vehicle:
(a) if the vehicle has a GVM over 3.5 tonnes, or
(b) if the vehicle is a motor bike, or motor trike with 1 front wheel, built after June 1975, or
(c) if the vehicle is constructed for the carriage of goods (not being a station wagon), or
(d) if the vehicle is a bus, or
(e) if the maximum width of any trailer or other vehicle drawn by the vehicle is greater than that of the vehicle, or
(f) if because of the manner in which the vehicle is constructed, equipped or loaded, or because of the fact that the vehicle is drawing a trailer or other vehicle, or for any other reason, the driver cannot, by means of a mirror fixed to the interior of the vehicle, have reflected to him or her as far as practicable a clear view of the road to the rear of the vehicle and of any following or overtaking vehicle.
(4) A motor vehicle with a GVM not over 3.5 tonnes (except a motor vehicle mentioned in subclause (2) or (3)) must be fitted with:
(a) at least 1 rear vision mirror on the right side of the vehicle, and
(b) at least 1 rear vision mirror on the left side of the vehicle or inside the vehicle.
(5) A rear vision mirror fitted to a motor vehicle with a GVM over 3.5 tonnes must not project over 150 millimetres beyond the widest part (excluding lights, signalling devices and reflectors) of the vehicle or combination.
(6) However, the rear vision mirror may project not over 230 millimetres beyond the widest part of the vehicle or combination if it can fold to project not over 150 millimetres beyond the widest part.
AnswerID: 509750

Follow Up By: Pathycop - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 15:16

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 15:16
John. Many thanks for your thorough research. If you go back to my original reply at the top of the page I stated that I was going to avoid being technical and keep it simple which I believe I have done in my replies. If you wish to be technical then that's fine with me. I probably know my job and the rules and regulations better than you as you will know your job better than me. It was supposed to be simple answers to a simple question no need to get into vehicle regs. I can inform you with qualification that whilst there are various offences relating to rear view mirrors etc, the SPECIFIC offence is road rule 297. This is the rule we as police use on the road everyday. It does not specify how you obtain your rear view and it is clear and simple for anyone to understand.
I think a simple explaination can usually be appreciated by most if it provides the information required to avoid a fine with out clouding the answer with quoting clauses and sub clauses. Although I am sure some will appreciate the nuts and bolts also.

Graeme
1
FollowupID: 787749

Reply By: olcoolone - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 19:12

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 19:12
This is the road transport act for motor vehicles, there is no requirement to fit extra mirrors other than the standard motor vehicle mirrors if you tow a caravan.

However if you are involved in an accident and the lack of view caused or contributed to the accident you will more then likely be charged with driving without due care and a few others.

Do you need towing mirrors by law...No.
AnswerID: 509772

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