Crack down by RMS on breakaway units for trailers, vans etc over 2 T

Submitted: Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 17:10
ThreadID: 102090 Views:8111 Replies:8 FollowUps:3
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G'day all

I went to my local auto electrician today to get some new toys wired to the dmax.

I commented on the new van he was working on and he advised that it was from Victoria and had been knocked back for rego here in NSW because it did not comply with regulations in NSW regarding electric brakes for trailers over 2T.

Evidently the regulation came into effect in 2007. A Vehicle inspectors bulletin number 6 was also issued in that year regarding testing procedures for electric braking systems fitted to large trailers.

Basically he said that while the requirements for the above have been in since 2007 no-one has enforced them.

However that has now changed and the RMS advised those people that inspect vans and trailers over 2 T for rego must enforce the requirements.

He is doing horse trailers etc to bring them up to the requirements.

"The vehicle towing the van must have a compatible charging system which is connected to the trailer and is fully operable. Any vehicle not so equipped must be rejected." He mentioned 7 pin plugs need to be replaced by 12 pin plugs and a monitor needs to be installed near the driver.

" it will be satisfactoryof any trailer mounted battery is constantly charged by the towing vehicle and a warning device is fitted to warn the driver (from the normal driving position) if the trailer battery charge fails to such a level as to render the trailer brakes incapable of meeting the requirements."

If this is old news please ignore this post.

If it is new news then it becomes a bit of a problem if vans from other states are not meeting NSW standards, according to the auto electrician this appears to be the case.

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Reply By: member - mazcan - Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 18:25

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 18:25
hi boo boo
I think this is a very good thing for all rd users and can only have a positive outcome and should be enforced right across Australia/Tassie
I know there will be the negative brigade saying it's just more expense
but its a major safety issue that needs to be addressed
caravans and trailers have got quiet large and are on the rd in large number everywhere
so its very important that they are compliant with the laws applicable
thumbs up to the authorities
cheers
AnswerID: 510592

Reply By: Member - J&R - Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 19:04

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 19:04
I posted in a previous thread about what will be happening up here (Broome and the Kimberley, WA) in the coming season (Grey Nomad invasion) with regards to animals in Parks, speed, vehicle safety etc.

It would appear this topic will be included in any inspections insofar as Inspectors will be inspecting vehicles to make sure they comply with requirements related to their registration state.

I have no idea how this is going to happen, but it would appear the hammer is about to fall. I can only hope those with dodgy setups stay at home or vehicles are made safe before they hit the road.
AnswerID: 510596

Reply By: Rockape - Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 20:18

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 20:18
Boo Boo,
It irks me quite a bit that we don't have national laws that cover our vehicles.

One rule so all can say, my vehicle conforms or doesn't, right or wrong. It is gradually moving that way but state/federal politics have created many problems over the years and I am not talking about political parties. I understand when you combine 6 states and two territories with their different conditions and distances that you get problems in the heavy transport industry but I don't understand why we have the same differences in standard rules for general motoring.

Heavy vehicle standards are gradually moving to one rule but hell hasn't that been a battle and it still isn't there. My Dad was involved with trying to sort out some of the differences and he would say, there are just too many fingers in the pie out there pushing there own barrows.

An instance of this. I can go down the road tomorrow and hire a car trailer with basic override brakes and place a (lets just say) 1.8 tonne vehicle on it. Now it is going to be over 2 tonne when the trailer is added. No breakaway at all . Trailer legal. Loaded not legal.

What does happen is the likelihood of the trailer leaving the vehicle. The regulators look at this and decide on whether the cost incurred to the average motorist is justifiable when the amount of incidents are low.

Most problems come from human error. If we can eliminate that so the trailer does not leave the hitch it would be a good win for all. Simple redesign would be the best option so as to limit cost.

Wow my knuckles are starting to hurt from dragging on the keyboard.




AnswerID: 510605

Follow Up By: Member - Boo Boo (NSW) - Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 20:48

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 20:48
Gentlemen.

Cannot help but agree with you.

In this case it could be quite an expensive holiday for those that are not aware of this particular enforcement.

Most if not all people rely on those that build these caravans to build them to the right standards to comply with the law.

Unfortunately, there appears to be no australian standard, (like many other vehicle related matters), for caravans.

What appears to be legal in other states may fall well short in NSW.

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Reply By: Member - J&R - Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 21:29

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 21:29
The standard keeps getting upped each year, and it is the owners responsibility to stay up to date with the legislation and the rules and make sure they are compliant before hitting the road.

No longer is ignorance an excuse. By all means place yourself in peril, but no one else. Never works that way though.

And yes, crossing the border/that roadside/campground inspection may end up costing you many thousands of dollars and send you home early.

Or put you off the road.
AnswerID: 510611

Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 21:38

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 21:38
I have followed this NSW requirement with interest for some years, and have communicated with the RTA road safety division on it, in particular for those whose breakaway systems operate directly from solar powered caravan batteries as ours do. I am glad I don't live in NSW.

The breakaway is a last line of defence if the tow hitch AND the chains fail. With electric caravan breaks there is a far greater likelihood that the brakes will fail for other reasons, including stone damage breaking cables or worn magnets, than the battery for the breakaway to fail on the rare occasion it might be needed; double failure as described above or the tow bar falling off completely with chain attachment points.

While the type of unit to meet the inspection in NSW usually get in to a fiery debate, have a read of a summary of thoughts and investigations about what is legally required in NSW Breakaway battery monitor and a poll on what is happening for caravanners in NSW Breakaway monitors in NSW poll. Summaries of the replies I had from RTA are included.

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 21:45

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 21:45
This requirement for breakaway battery monitoring is only a requirement for registration inspection for trailers with breakaway break systems registered in NSW. The rest of us with working breakaway systems without in cab monitoring are legal in our own states and are legal to drive in NSW.

Mh
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Reply By: LIFE MEMBER-snailbait - Thursday, May 09, 2013 at 18:11

Thursday, May 09, 2013 at 18:11
I am sorry to advise that if you enter NSW and you do not have the safety features you could be charged in NSW under the current legislation
I have been talking about this for years an no person has taking it serisley
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, May 09, 2013 at 23:36

Thursday, May 09, 2013 at 23:36
The requirement to have a breakaway system that will hold the caravan stationery for at least fifteen minutes should the trailer become completely detached from the tow vehicle is an Australia wide requirement for trailers over two tonne gross trailer mass. See VSB1 section 15 Braking

Terry if you are talking about the Breakway monitor in the tow vehicle requirement for NSW registration inspection, that applies to NSW registered vehicles only. The rest of us can quite legally travel within NSW with our legally registered in our own state vehicles and trailers, without the onerous requirement for breakaway battery monitoring in car. Of course the requirement to have a breakaway system to meet the requirements of VSB1 still stands as it does in any state.

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Reply By: LIFE MEMBER-snailbait - Friday, May 10, 2013 at 10:23

Friday, May 10, 2013 at 10:23
Hi Mother Hen
my Take on this is that a Heavy Vehicle Regulator has been appointed and resides in Brisbane and now all legislation will come out of Brisbane
One of them is that Heavy Vehicles are now taken as OVER 4.5 tonne not as previously 12.5 tonne This means that what is required for vehicles over 4.5 tonne combined or combination will soon be legislation in all states.
As of 2012 at the COAG Meeting all states signed a memorandum of understanding
to turn over all heavy vehicles responsibility's to the commonwealth
This means what is in VSB1 WILL become STD. in all states.
WHAT NSW has done is put the interpretation of VSB1 into Legislation up front of the Heavy Vehicle Regulator Taking Office
Now it does not mater what state u are from if your vehicle is found to be unsafe by a NSW RMS OR patrol person you will be fined, THE SAME AS FOR SPEEDING having A VIC, SA,WA,QLD,TAS,NT or CANB number plate does not get you off
When you have bald tyres it is the same in NSW YOU WILL BE FINED IF YOU ARE Caught ETC ETC
The max speed limit in NSW for vehicles over 4.5 tonne or 4.5 CVM is a 100 ks.
RMS OR Police will not let you go because you state has max speed limit of 110 ks

So if caught because your vehicle is not safe and you travel in NSW don't say you are not warned
To check this out go TO RMS AND SEARCH BREAK AWAY BRAKES
Look at VIB 74
LOOK AT VIB 6
LOOK AT VIB 06
LOOK AT NSW LEGISLATION Road Rules 2008 Part 3
Rule 25
(3)
VIB 6 Advise that a label must be affixed to the Trailer ...... ANY TOWING VEHICLE MUSTBE EQUIPPED WITH AN ACCEPTABLE CHARGING/WARNING CIRCUIT

SO don't think that when you are travelling in NSW and you are from a different state that you will not be fined because you get caught you will be fined
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 13:23

Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 13:23
Here is the relevant section from Vehicle Safety Bulletin #6 from NSW RTA or now RMS.

The Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2007 requires that all trailers with a Gross Trailer Mass (GTM)
exceeding 2 tonnes be provided with a braking system which will operate automatically and promptly upon breakaway
of the trailer from its towing vehicle, and that such application should be maintained for at least fifteen minutes.
Such trailers, if fitted with electrically actuated braking systems, must be equipped with a device which applies the
brakes in the event of a breakaway from the towing vehicle and maintains application for at least fifteen minutes. It is
essential therefore, that an energy source, such as a battery, be carried on the trailer and that means be provided to
ensure that the battery is maintained in a fully energised condition. In this regard, it will be satisfactory if any trailermounted
battery is constantly charged by the towing vehicle and a warning device is fitted to warn the driver (from
the normal driving position) if the trailer battery charge falls to such a level as to render the trailer brakes incapable of
meeting the requirements.
Trailers required to be fitted with breakaway systems are not registerable if there is no means for maintaining the
breakaway energy source in a fully-energised condition (for example, if a charging and warning circuit is not fitted). An
acceptable warning circuit must incorporate either a visual or an audible warning device.

Note that it does not insist on a charge source from the vehicle it merely states that that is one option. This therefore indicates, as stated in the bulletin that it will be sufficient that any charging source be able to maintain the brake safe battery in a charged condition.

To this end a solar setup is adequate provided that it can maintain a charge in the break away battery, as mine does. In f in my situation I have 3 batteries being maintained by solar and available to the break safe unit in an emergency.

I set mine up after speaking to one of the fellows at RV Electronics who are the makers of the Break Safe System. My 280 watt solar system charges the 2 X 120AH AGM house batteries and they in turn keep the 7AH sealed battery in the Break Safe unit at full charge all the time, 24 hors a day.

So in this regard the regulation is not at all difficult to comply with and in Motherhen’s case is easily complied with as they have solar fitted to the van.

The regs also state that an “Audible OR Visual” indication must be fitted in the towing vehicle. These are available from RV Electronics at a cost of around $70, which is overpriced for what they are, and are very easily fitted by anyone with a basic amount of electrical knowledge.

The other method is to get a battery charge indicator from Ebay, usually around $25 and fit that in the vehicle to indicate the state of charge in the Break Safe Battery.
Battery Monitor like this

Yes it is a little extra effort but for us here in the State of Extortion otherwise known as NSW it is worth it to be compliant.

Cheers, Bruce.


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