DVSA publishes towing guidance after tragic death

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The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has published guidance to help drivers check that they’re towing safely and legally.

The guidance includes important information on checking: the towball and connections; wheels and tyres; lights and indicators; and loads and weight limits.

The new campaign follows the tragic death of three-year-old Freddie Hussey in January 2014.

Freddie was walking with his mother in Bedminster, Bristol, when a two-tonne trailer became unattached from a Land Rover. The trailer mounted the kerb before hitting the child.

The investigation into his death found that the trailer’s handbrake lever was in the wrong place. Freddie’s parents are urging all drivers to carry out basic safety checks each time they tow a trailer to avoid further tragedies.

Transport minister Andrew Jones said: “I was shocked and saddened by the death of three-year-old Freddie Hussey - it is absolutely essential that drivers carry out a few quick and simple checks to make sure their trailer is safe, so we do not see a repeat of this awful tragedy.

“This campaign will help drivers to make sure they are towing safely and will save lives in the process.”

DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn said: “DVSA’s first priority is to protect the public and help you stay safe on Great Britain’s roads.

“It’s your responsibility to ensure equipment is fitted to your vehicle correctly and used safely. There is no excuse for not being informed.

“Even a short journey with an insecure or unroadworthy trailer puts lives at risk, as the death of Freddie Hussey tragically shows.”

Larry Lambert, chief executive administrator of the National Trailer and Towing Association (NTTA), concluded: “NTTA firmly believes that education is the key to stopping these events from happening again and our association fully supports this campaign.

“We urge all users to keep their trailers properly maintained and to allow sufficient time before each journey to carry out essential checks that will ensure that their towing experience is safe and legal at all times.”

For safety advice on towing, click here.

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