Breakaway trailer incident stats?

Submitted: Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 08:33
ThreadID: 129996 Views:2537 Replies:11 FollowUps:9
This Thread has been Archived
Can anyone quote or steer me?

I'm in a perpetual argument with my ageing rural neighbour, who insists that all safety measures are the result of bureaucrats thinking up new ways to justify their salaries.

He'll happily tow an overladen stock trailer using a bent rusty nail for the safety chain and refuses to believe that some of these regulations might actually be borne from real incident stats.
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Bigfish - Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 08:43

Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 08:43
Take the old dinosaur to the cop shop and ask them if they can talk to him about the people they have had to cut out of smashed vehicles due to people disregarding safety instructions/rules. Does the bloke wear a seat belt? If he does ask him why? Surely they cant help in an accident.. As much as I hate pollies and bureaucrats sometimes they get it right.

AnswerID: 589261

Reply By: CSeaJay - Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 09:22

Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 09:22
Dont sweat the small stuff.
AnswerID: 589263

Reply By: TomH - Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 09:33

Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 09:33
Ask him if he would use a piece of string to tie the chain on his favourite angry bull to a fence.

Best analogy I can think of. If he says yes advise to buy a good pair of runnng shoes
AnswerID: 589264

Reply By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 10:23

Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 10:23
While you're at it find a rusted on Labor voter and try to convince him/her to vote LNP.
Or an equally rusted on LNP voter to vote Labor.
Or a member of any of the many and varied religious organisations to renounce their beliefs.
While you're at it I have a brick wall that needs demolishing. Care to try butting it down with your head???

As much as I admire you trying, some things are best left to the "bureaucrats" to enforce.
They seem to be able to "persuade" the most stubborn members of our society of the errors of their ways.

Life's too short mate.


AnswerID: 589266

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 14:10

Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 14:10
FollowupID: 857093

Reply By: Bobjl - Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 16:22

Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 16:22
I see your frustration. It is easy to imagine the runaway stock trailer that careers across the road into an innocent party with horrible results.

If as individuals we are unaware of a particular hazard, we are arguably "Risk Ignorant". If however we learn of the hazard and potential for trouble and do nothing to eliminate that hazard - then we are just "Risk Arrogant".

The courts usually come down harder on blokes like him that display a wilful disregard/arrogance toward safety.

It is blokes like him that are more likely to cause tragic accidents. Those types are equally as bad as drunken or drugged drivers or those that text whilst driving.

Keep working on the arrogant sod, you may just save him from himself, but more importantly, you mave save others from the risks he knowlingly creates.

AnswerID: 589277

Reply By: Member - John T (Tamworth NSW) - Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 16:33

Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 16:33
Good afternoon Wortgames
I have just spent $1000 having a breakaway system fitted to my secondhand AOR Quantum camper. Why? Because the law says it must have it (not the case when it was built) and the fact that it is now fitted, heaven forbid, should all things turn pear shaped the Quantum will not travel very far as the brakes will be activated the instant the pin is pulled. Your neighbour is a risk to himself and every other person driving on the road. As suggested take him to the professionals who risk their lives getting people,out,of smashed vehicles and ask him how he would feel if his stock trailer had caused the accident. I am sure that the Police would be asking VERY interesting questions.
John T (Lifetime Member)
VKS-737 Mobile 2619
Selcall 2619
"Argue for your limitations and sure enough they're yours" - Richard Bach in "Illusions"

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 589278

Follow Up By: fisho64 - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 22:48

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 22:48
those laws are not usually retrospective unless you let the rego lapse.
So if it was legal when it was built you'll likely find it still is
FollowupID: 857475

Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 17:08

Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 17:08
How has he got this far in life without being caught doing illegal things when towing?
Is he living and working in a remote area? If so, he's probably one of the old hard cases who has had trailers come adrift and it did little damage. Shrug and reconnect and get on with the job. If there's virtually no traffic where he is, that would reinforce his opinion. "Nobody to get hurt out here, son!"

It's when he gets into decent highway speeds and regular heavy traffic that things will turn pear-shaped for him. Hopefully, that pear-shape will be a "Highway Patrol" Monarch who tears him down so low, he'll be able to walk under a snakes belly.

Every time I hit the highway, I have an eternal fear of having a HP Monarch spot me and give me a working over, like I'm the biggest road offender every let loose on a public highway. As a result, I'm eternally checking lights, straps, chains, and every single thing that could even elicit the slightest interest of the Monarchs.

One can't afford to get one single thing wrong in todays world, the authorities make you pay big-time for even the slightest infringement (says he, as he ruefully examines the latest speed-camera "bluey" - doing 67kmh down a hill in the Hilux, outside the local swimming pool - a favorite spot!).
AnswerID: 589280

Reply By: Hoyks - Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 18:17

Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 18:17
We had some friends towing a double horse float with 2 horses in it to a show, around 100km from home.

Somewhere along the road the nut on the tow ball parted company with the vehicle, but they didn't find out until they slowed down and were turning into the show ground, at which point the float bounced and the ball came out of the tow hitch. The safety chains caught the float and all that was damaged was the rear bumper of the car.
2 x 700kg horses and a float parting company on the pacific highway would have been messy though.

I had another friend that was driving to Charters Towers, about 40km from town he was coming around a corner when a fuel tanker coming the other way lost its dog trailer, that then went careening across the highway straight in front of him. It missed by a few meters, but a 10000L fuel trailer on the loose is never a good thing. It's breakaway brakes failed to function as it was rolling quite happily and the draw bar digging in is what pulled it up.

So, yes, they are failsafe safety devices. They are there to reduce the risk of an accident if the primary hitch fails for whatever reason, and they do fail through either wear or lack of maintenance
AnswerID: 589282

Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 21:35

Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 21:35
Just going on my memory of major accidents and fatalities that made the news over the last 5 decades - but I don't recall trailers coming adrift as being a major problem in those figures.

I have had substantial numbers of "first-person" stories repeated to me, of major near-misses.
Those near-misses were usually having to avoid errant vehicles that came over to their side of the road, due to various factors - and near-misses that largely comprised taking steps to avoid lost loads, or heavy items that had come adrift.

I have never known or spoken to anyone who has collided with a trailer or van that had come adrift. I do know of a number of accidents where people were killed by single wheels, or complete dual wheel assemblies, coming off trucks.
I know of one major accident where a truck lost a large dog trailer on a busy SW hwy, and it collided head-on with a bloke in a car, who was killed as a result.

The reason for the trailer coming adrift in that accident was a broken towbar assembly that had been cracked for a long time and had never been inspected as part of regular maintenance.
The trailer came adrift with the hitch and chains intact, but with the centre portion of the towbar still attached.
The truck owner was charged with manslaughter and convicted, but the penalty was relatively low, I thought - a suspended sentence and a heavy fine.
The judge severely castigated the truck owner for his poor maintenance and the truck owner deflected the criticism by stating that the cracking would have been difficult to detect.

I don't believe that for one moment - and we now have "chain of responsibility" obligations in trucking today - designed to pin the exact person responsible for any neglect.
I believe that that "chain of responsibility" obligation could easily be extended to operators of all road vehicles by a smart prosecutor.

In todays litigious and heavy road-rules transgression penalties, I believe its wise to ensure you are abiding by all the relevant road laws, particularly if the potential result is the possibility of injury and death to other road users - which has the potential to break you financially and emotionally, if it ever does happen.
FollowupID: 857107

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 21:10

Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 21:10
I wonder whether your aging neighbour has a science background and you don't believe anything that is not evidence based.

Some things are cut and dried - seat belts, airbags, crumple zones etc have very good evidence that they reduce injuries and death.

But what about say ABS? It is a smart idea but to my knowledge, we still lack objective data to say it has made any difference to the tolls. And that being the case any difference will likely be minor.

I think trailer breakaway devices are the same - no hard data telling us it makes any difference to death and injury, but they were only introduced recently, and are not yet widespread. Given that this is a rare event, it is unlikely to impact on death and injury numbers.

The next thing will be the sway control we are now fitting to caravans. Given that there are significant numbers of accidents attributed to caravan sway and loss of control, there potentially could be a benefit. But again, its a recent innovation, and only fitted to larger caravans and trailers.

I think progress is a good thing, and these new ideas that are of potential benefit should be embraced, provided there are no obvious downsides. The thing that bothers me about the trailer sway control is that the trailer will automatically apply brakes when sway is detected - I'd hate for this to happen just as I'm overtaking a truck with a cross wind.

And are we chasing vehicle safety too hard? Would the vast sums of money directed at getting the road toll down by a few hundred, be better directed elsewhere? I think we've reached the point where it will be difficult to make any more improvements to the road toll, given a lot of it these days is due to alcohol, drugs, speed, inexperience, inattentiveness and hitting animals in the middle of the night.

Just my opinions!!
AnswerID: 589294

Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 21:45

Saturday, Aug 15, 2015 at 21:45
Gotta agree with all that you say, Phil. Too many "safety features" that take control away from the driver only results in lower and lower driving and handling skills.
I would prefer to see driving skills enhanced, and more compulsory education for people who want to drag large 'vans and trailers, as to the dynamics of rig handling, and the correct methods of loading the rigs being towed.

If you have a basically stable setup, it should be capable of being controlled in adverse conditions with ease, without the need for complex controllers that involve sudden and unusual steering and brake applications, that might surprise the driver.
FollowupID: 857109

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, Aug 16, 2015 at 21:25

Sunday, Aug 16, 2015 at 21:25
Hi Ron,
Good points. When I first experienced trailer sway many years ago, it scared the hell out of me. I could have been killed because I was moving house - with a loaded L300 Starwagon and hire trailer loaded to the hilt and no trailer brakes. Some regulations have made a big difference in preventing this scenario, but I learnt to respect what could happen. And now I like to drive in a manner that prevents it from happening.
FollowupID: 857182

Follow Up By: Member - Munji - Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at 08:25

Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at 08:25
Ron N

I agree with your comments and wish for the same however that is never going to happen in this Country.
I currently work on a very large LNG Project where there are many Japanese.When they arrive they go and open a bank account an transfer their driver licence.
Most of them cannot drive very well at all, they can barely reverse into a parking area.When you speak to them they openly state "I don't drive in Japan, no car'
This is also the case with visitors allowed to drive on International licence, drive down the incorrect side of the road and kill people. If they want, they can skip the country because the Police cannot hold their Passports until the matter is cleared up.
It has become very evident that our rules are being diluted to appease other countries.
Many tourists die on our roads every year because they think they are driving around the city block.
FollowupID: 857418

Reply By: wortgames - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 00:48

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 00:48
Thanks for the replies. Yep, it's that old rural attitude that even if a trailer falls off, you'll probably be on a dirt road by yourself so you hook it back up and tell all your mates in the pub how funny it is to be overtaken by your own trailer.

The essence of our argument though is the genesis of the rules. In his opinion, it's some stuffed shirt behind a desk on the 32nd floor dreaming up new regulations, whereas I'd like to think that they come as the result of an inquiry / coroner's report / statistical analysis.

If I could show him cold hard evidence that people have in fact died from breakaway trailer incidents I'd have a case, but as it is he seems to think it is a purely theoretical risk.

As for how he is still alive, I can't answer that. I've watched (and screamed) in horror as he's cut the top off a plastic jerry can - by holding it between his knees and taking to it with a 90cc Jonsered with a 28" bar. I wish I was kidding.
AnswerID: 589447

Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 10:03

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 10:03
Actually your 'old' mate is correct in some aspects , the amount of workplace health and safety changes that are dreamed up by people trying to justify their obscene salary is laughable ,
FollowupID: 857457

Follow Up By: fisho64 - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 22:52

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 22:52
agree with ac/t
If he is just towing down the gravel road around his farm, big deal really.
If he is tearing all the way round the state then maybe its worth alienating your neighbour.
Maybe just try and get on with him, and stay out of the way when he heads out.
FollowupID: 857476

Reply By: Member - Andrew - Thursday, Aug 27, 2015 at 15:21

Thursday, Aug 27, 2015 at 15:21
Try contacting your states police accident investigation section.
They will not only know of specific incidents but may be able to refer you to the keepers of the statistics.
I am directly aware of three instances of detachments, one causing a fatal the others
injuries. There were others but I have seen the evidence on these.
It is easy for some to bag bureaucrats as making work, but if they had seen the accident scene pictures they might agree that an attempt should be made to try and stop it happening again.


AnswerID: 589708

Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Aug 27, 2015 at 16:40

Thursday, Aug 27, 2015 at 16:40
Andrew ,as you say , 'Its easy for some to bag bureaucrats as making work' …and that an attempt should be made to stop an accident from happening again , perhaps we should legislate that all forms of motorised and non motorised transport be banned after seeing the photo of a pushbike hit by a car or a train derailed when hitting a cow or a horse rider after a fall ……. remember that laws and legislation ,road rules particularly are made by bureaucrats looking at statistics which in no way reflect the 'real' world …IE. 18% of road accidents are caused through speed and drink driving so we ban and focus on both , never mind that the other 82% are just as much a problem or even as the 'statistics' show are a much bigger problem..
FollowupID: 857641

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (9)