A well-known “sharing the road” safety advocate has argued a strong case for introducing stricter caravan towing laws in Australia.
In a recent social media post titled “Caravan/ towing licences – the Pros and Cons,” Ken Wilson, the founder of the Truck Friendly caravan road safety program, pleaded that the education and training requirements for the different types of RV need to have varying approaches, according to a report.
For example, owners of smaller camper trailers and fifth-wheel caravans are less likely to experience sway, and other towing issues and, therefore, should not necessarily require any special training or towing license.
However, the ‘pig trailer’ design of most larger caravans is a different story as it “is one of the most unstable trailer designs on the roads.”
“Towing a caravan in Australia does not currently require any special licensing, education, and training, even though they are among most unstable trailer designs, and sensitive to bad loading and hitching, and combined with the tow vehicle are the same size and weight of some trucks that require extra licensing and training, yet are more stable to drive,” said Wilson.
He said one advantage of incorporating specialized training as part of a compulsory caravan towing license is making roads safer for all motorists.
Another benefit is boosting the employment of training and licensing providers, with their income from licensing fees offsetting any increased administration cost.
Wilson also said that the biggest challenge in introducing a nationally-recognized standardized towing course is finding common ground among the various states and territories.
“Currently, the states cannot fully agree on caravan towing speeds and GVM upgrades and other road rules, so I cannot see this happening in the near future,” he said.
Other cons include extra cost and inconvenience to caravanners and owners of large trailers like horse floats. It can have a negative effect on tourism and drain police and government resources to ensure compliance.
“There is no doubt that more education and training is needed for those new to, and even those experienced, in towing a caravan or large trailer,” Wilson said.
He made a multi-pronged approach to getting the caravan safety message across the country, including TV advertising, point of sale promotions with discounted or complimentary towing course inclusions at dealers, and discounted registrations and insurance for those who have completed a registered towing course.
He also argued the government should provide more funding for road safety programs, and a need for more random roadside weight and compliance checks.
Wilson also points the finger at some vehicle manufacturers’ bold claims around ‘real world’ 3500kg towing, calling for “less deceptive marketing of vehicle towing capacity and load carrying capabilities.”
One of a handful of ‘sharing the road’ initiatives, the Truck Friendly program aims to educate road users on how to interact with trucks safely and improve the often strained relationship between caravanners and truck drivers.
This article originally appeared on Caravan Camping Sales.