NC Man Urges Stronger Trailer Laws

When traveling on area roadways, it is not uncommon to see vehicles with attached trailers filled with a variety of items. Many people use these trailers as a convenient way to transport a large amount of goods quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, if the trailer becomes unsecured, serious car accidents can result. Current North Carolina laws are somewhat vague on the requirements for drivers who are traveling with attached trailers.

Inadequate state laws

The law states that a vehicle towing another vehicle must have chains or cables securely attached to both the vehicle and the trailer. The chains require sufficient strength to safely secure the weight of the towed vehicle.

Requiring the trailer and vehicle to be chained together would seem to limit the potential for the trailers to separate from the vehicles. However, the law does not make it clear exactly how strong the chains need to be to ensure that the trailer remains secured. With no weight requirements in place for chains, drivers may use chains that will break if the trailer becomes unlatched.

Wife killed by unsecured utility trailer

A North Carolina man is on a personal mission to get this law changed after his wife was killed by a trailer that had become unhitched. Jamie Langemann's wife, Lisa, was traveling along Highway 43 when her minivan was struck head-on by an unattached trailer. The driver, John Ross, was found to not have used any chains to keep the trailer securely attached to his vehicle. He was charged in connection with the accident.

Pushing to change law

Langemann has pushed to have North Carolina's law changed to require specific chains depending on weight. The gross weight of each vehicle towed will determine the necessary strength of the chains needed.

Langemann has also pushed for annual inspections of trailers. Currently, trailers are inspected when they are registered by their owners. After this inspection, complying with the law becomes the responsibility of the trailer owner.

A change in the law could prevent the number of serious accidents that happen as a result of unsecured trailers. Drivers, like John Ross, may not even be aware that they are placing others at risk until it's too late.