Trailer owners may have to pay for new MOT-style tests under proposals being discussed in Brussels.
The European Union is currently considering a proposal for all trailers and caravans to undergo “periodic roadworthiness testing”.
Jon Phillips of equestrian breakdown company PRP Rescue supports the proposal.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, if this legislation were introduced, it would reduce the number of breakdowns we have to attend,” Jon said.
“People need to be more aware that they are responsible for their trailers — especially considering the expensive cargo they are carrying.”
All trailers should be checked at least every six months — with particular attention to floors, ramps, tyres and axels — but few owners do this.
The directive could include all trailers in the 02 category — 750kg to 3,500kg — or just those that weigh more than 2,000kg.
But either would affect equestrians, as 2-horse trailers weigh more than 2,000kg when fully loaded.
A price has not been set for the test, but there is concern that the cost of establishing it would be huge, with trailer owners bearing much of the cost through subsequent testing.
Some trailer drivers think that it might be a price worth paying to ensure that all trailers are maintained properly.
“The price will be a bit of a pain but, if means all trailers that are on the road are actually roadworthy, then it has to be a good thing,” one owner told H&H.
Independent transport consultant and former Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) enforcement officer Graeme Baxter shares this view. But he thinks it would be difficult to set up a test that could be universally applied to all trailers.
“The equipment required to do such a test doesn’t exist,” he said. “You also have to consider how to get all trailers registered on a central system. Some older trailers don’t have chassis numbers — it’s not as easy as cars, which have number plates.”
A second and final vote in the European Parliament to decide on the proposal is likely to take place early next year.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine