Police launch caravan/trailer campaign

From Devon & Cornwall Police:

Owners are being urged to make sure that their caravans, trailers and campervans are roadworthy, especially if they may not have been used for more than a year, to help avoid incidents on Devon and Cornwall’s road network this summer.

As part of the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership, Devon & Cornwall Police is committed to making the region’s roads free of all fatal and serious collisions by 2040 – and caravan and trailer safety plays a major role in this vision.

Alliance MPC Phil Saundercock from Devon & Cornwall Police said: “Due to the current uncertainty surrounding international travel, more people than ever before will opt for a ‘Staycation’; this has seen a rise in sales of second-hand caravan and road users deciding to purchase a caravan for the first time.

“Naturally this will lead to a large number of caravan users visiting Devon and Cornwall, but before you travel you must make sure that you have undertaken all necessary safety checks.”

The Force has produced a handy leaflet with tips (link to PDF), advice and all you will need to know to keep your trailer roadworthy and legal.

A list of simple checks can be found on the Government website and includes advice on how to avoid hazardous situations including rolling or jackknifing; guidance on the speed limits and weight considerations you must adhere to; and which lanes you are allowed to use on the motorway. The Alliance Roads Casualty Reduction Team have also helped create this video on YouTube which covers all the caravan safety tips you need before going on holiday after the lockdown.

In support of this campaign, Highways England, The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and officers from the Alliance Roads Policing Team will carry out mobile patrols and proactively target those who tow caravans, trailers, and campervans that may not be roadworthy.

On Friday 28 May, caravan and trailer check sites will be in operation near Tiverton, with education events being held at Exeter Services, Victoria, as well as at Wellington Services being run by police colleagues in Avon and Somerset.

MPC Saundercock added: “Officers will be on the road, in both marked and unmarked cars to spot any issues and to educate those pulling caravans and trailers. It is vital for all road users that what you are pulling is roadworthy, secure, and has correct weight distribution.

“Drivers need to check their trailers and caravans thoroughly before they hit the road, especially if they have not been used for some time, even perhaps laid up since summer 2019.”

The DVLA has produced a guide to towing, TyreSafe also has a handy guide to checking tyres on vehicles, trailers and caravans that are coming out of storage.

MPC Saundercock said: “If your tyres or vehicle aren’t roadworthy or your license and insurance isn’t suitable, you run the very real risk of having points added to your license, a fine from the court and it could result in your caravan being seized.

“Towing incidents on the road network can cause considerable delays to other road users, not to mention being potentially hazardous; please reduce your speed, adapt how you drive and make sure you have the necessary breakdown cover.”

The Vision Zero South West road safety partnership is committed to reducing fatal and serious collisions to zero on Devon and Cornwall’s roads by 2040.

The partnership consists of all the local bodies concerned with improving road safety, including the police, ambulance service, fire and rescue service, Highways England, councils, and NHS Trusts.

It is chaired by the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez, who is also the APCC national lead for road safety. Commissioner Hernandez said: “Eradicating all serious collisions in Devon and Cornwall by 2030 may seem like a hugely ambitious target, but we are committed to making this happen.

“Vision Zero believes that any fatality or serious injury caused by a road collision is avoidable. By targeting vulnerable road users and making sure we have the very best route-based interventions and post-crash care available, we want to make this collective vision a reality.

“Ensuring the roadworthiness of your vehicle is vital in giving you the safest experience when it comes to travel, as well as those around you. This operation shows our dedication to enforcing the rules of the road to protect all motorists in Devon and Cornwall, both locals and visitors alike.” Beverly Hannah, Regional Safety Co-ordinator at Highways England added: “Before you travel, check the conditions, leave plenty of time for your journey and carry out vehicle checks to ensure both your vehicle and caravan or trailer are all in a roadworthy condition.

“Vehicle checks include tyres, oil, water and lights. And if you’re on a long journey, remember to take regular breaks.”

The team will be tweeting from the Alliance Roads Policing account on the 28 May. Please follow @RoadPolAlliance for rolling updates as the operation takes place.

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