The Recreational Vehicle (RV) industry in Elkhart County, a vital cog in Michiana’s economy, has raised concerns over road safety and the need for better education among consumers and drivers.
These issues, brought to the forefront during the recently designated “National Trailer Safety Week,” highlight the ongoing conversation about trailer safety and the importance of proper training.
Gary Davis, a manager at International RV in Elkhart, emphasized the concern about customers purchasing trailers that are too heavy for their tow vehicles, a misstep that can lead to road accidents.
“A lot of customers are misled by some dealers, and they buy trailers that are too heavy for the tow vehicle that they own,” Davis said. “This can result in swaying on the roads, causing crashes, ” Davis added.
Davis also highlighted another industry issue relating to motor homes, which unlike motorcycles and 18-wheel tractor trailers, do not have specific licensing requirements.
This can lead to individuals with little to no training operating these large vehicles at high speeds on public roads, posing a significant risk.
In an effort to address these issues, U.S. Rep. Rudy Yakym, R-2nd District, introduced House Resolution 467 on June 6.
The resolution supports the designation of June 4-10 as “National Trailer Safety Week” in the United States, and was joined in by Reps. John Garamendi, D-Calif., and Tim Burchett, R-Tenn.
Manufacturers in Indiana’s 2nd District produce a wide range of trailers, and according to Yakym, “Promoting proper towing techniques is an important way to ensure everyone can continue to enjoy the benefits of trailers and help make our roads safer for all Americans.”
The significance of the RV industry was also emphasized at the RV Industry Power Breakfast, held in May at the Northern Indiana Event Center in Elkhart, which saw a record turnout of over 1,000 attendees.
Alex Stowe, the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers’ (NATM) executive director, also underscored the urgency of educating end-users about safe towing practices.
“With more than one million new trailers registered every year, it is crucial to raise awareness of proper towing techniques and maintenance for the sake of everyone on the nation’s roadways,” Stowe said.
The RV industry’s impact on the local economy, combined with the increasing popularity of RVing as a leisure activity, makes the need for better education and safety regulations even more pressing.
The industry leaders are urging prospective RV buyers to gain knowledge and choose the correct hitching equipment for their vehicles, an initiative supported by the first-ever nationwide Trailer Safety Week.