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Trailer accidents can be prevented in North Carolina

With summer almost here, more families in North Carolina will be heading to the lake with their boats. This means that more vehicles will be pulling utility trailers, unknowingly putting everyone on the road at risk. Many people are unaware of the dangers utility trailers pose and how many trailer-related accidents have caused serious and fatal injuries to other people on the road.

Many trailer accidents are caused by the utility trailer not being properly secured to the vehicle towing the trailer. With many vehicles traveling at high speeds on the highway when towing their trailers, not securing the trailer can result in a serious car accident.

In the U.S., more than 16,000 people have been killed in trailer-related accidents since 1975. In 2011, 345 deaths were reported across the country. Road safety advocates are hoping that states will raise awareness to the dangers of towing utility trailers and the steps individuals can take to prevent an accident.

Trailer accidents are very dangerous because if a trailer becomes detached or even if it is swinging from side to side on the road, the trailer can hit another vehicle and cause an accident. The North Carolina Highway Patrol said that many accidents are caused by safety chains not being used or not being used properly to prevent the trailer from detaching.

North Carolina has laws that regulate the use of utility trailers in the state, including what kind of trailers can be used to tow boats. The state also requires that safety chains or cables must be used because if the primary mechanism fails, the safety chains can prevent the trailer from detaching. Trailers must also have reflectors on both sides of the trailer to increase visibility on the road.

State law requires that trailers owned in North Carolina must be registered and display a registration plate. However, not all trailers are owned by someone in North Carolina and many out-of-state people travel to or through the state and may not be required to follow the same safety standards.

There are steps trailer owners can take to increase safety and prevent a trailer-related accident from happening in North Carolina. Safety officials hope that the state's laws on utility trailers as well as recent safety awareness campaigns highlighting the dangers will help prevent trailer accidents this summer.

Source: JD News, "Tragic trailer accident serves as safety reminder," Jannette Pippin, May 24, 2013

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