The Free Lance Star recent ran a great article about the dangers of trailers and a new Virginia law. The paper reports that a former EMT, Ron Melancon of Henrico County initiated a one man activism campaign concerning trailer safety laws that eventually reached the attention of the Virginia General Assembly. Senator John C. Watkins, a Republican out of Midlothian sponsored the bill which became law on Thursday, July 1.
A former client recently contacted me to help him. He was on his way to the pharmacy which was a few miles from his home. While on his way on Route 360, a trailer that came unhitched from a car traveling in the opposite direction hit him and flipped his truck over. Our client was medicated for medical treatment.
Melancon has a website: dangeroustrailers.org to which he posts pictures, videos and articles relating to the improper use of trailers or of trailers linked improperly to a lead vehicle. The site also has great guidelines for buying a trailer. He also cites cases from around the country where a runaway trailer or trailer accident causes injury or death to pedestrians and drivers/passengers of surrounding vehicles.
Senator Watkins states that “most citizens of Virginia understand and recognize the value of the law,” also stating that the majority of drivers who tow trailers already meet the requirements under the new law. Under the new law, a trailer must follow behind a 5th wheel, drawbar or trailer hitch with a locking device at the connection. Additionally, the proper chains and/or twisted steel cable must be used as an emergency precaution, taking into consideration the weight of the load and the strength of the chains.