Could trailer MOTs become law?

  • MOT-style tests for horse trailers could still be on the cards for the future despite the European Union’s (EU) decision not to include them in last year’s law.

    Currently, only trailers over 3.5 tonnes must be periodically tested for roadworthiness.

    As most horse trailers are designed to carry up to a gross maximum of 3.5 tonnes or less — depending on design — these are exempt.

    For example, the largest Ifor Williams and Equi-Trek horse trailers on sale have a maximum gross-weight limit of 3.5 tonnes.

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    However, there is provision in the ruling for it potentially to include lighter trailers in the future.

    Jon Phillips, of the Organisation of Horsebox and Trailer Owners, said he would “welcome” regular testing of trailers.

    “We see on a daily basis the result of poorly maintained trailers,” he said.

    “Some of them are just absolutely dreadful. We have horses going through the floors regularly.”

    Jon added that he thinks regular MOT-style tests could also help tackle thefts as trailers will have a traceable history.

    Unlike cars, trailers do not need registration documents, but are security marked with unique serial numbers to discourage thieves.

    Trailers should also be checked and serviced frequently.

    “It is simple stuff but people don’t do it,” Mr Phillips added.

    He also said it can be difficult to trace how old a trailer is and how many miles it has done.

    By 30 April 2019, the European Commission must submit a report on how effective it would be to include light trailers and two- or three-wheel vehicles in the legistlation.

    The report has to be based on independent studies and will be made available at least six months before any proposals are submitted.

    “The commission will assess whether the standards and costs of periodic roadworthiness testing of each category of vehicle is proportionate to the road safety objectives set,” the legislation states.

    “The report shall be accompanied by a detailed impact assessment analysing the costs and benefits throughout the [EU], including the specificities of member states.”

    H&H reported on the proposals for the current bill two years ago (news, 31 October 2013), when the EU was considering bringing in tests for all caravans and trailers. However, this part of the bill was dismissed in March 2014.

    Ref: H&H 1 October, 2015

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