Advantages Would ensure roadworthiness of caravans (and trailers)
Disadvantages More bureaucracy, probably cost more than it raised.
In general most caravanners are a responsible group of people who maintain their caravans in good order. They would not want to jeopardise their safety (and that of others) by towing an unroadworthy caravan, not to mention the possibilty of ruining their holiday. Most caravanners pose no hazard to other road users, well okay they sometimes hold us a bit but so do a lot of other road users. Most of us who passed our driving tests before 1997 can tow anything we like without taking an extra test. New drivers however have to take a test if they want to tow a large combination such as a 4WD with a large twin axle caravan or a horse box. Further details of this and other legal issues can be found on the NTTA website which I have always found useful. They also do towing courses for new towers and those that have to take the trailer towing test.However slowly but surely, the EU is moving towards an introduction of MOT tests for all trailers under 3500kg and in the eyes of the law, a caravan is a trailer. In 2008 type approval for trailer (and caravan) chassis will be introduced. This will be followed by whole vehicle type approval in 2010 for complete caravans and trailers. In practice this will mean little change for the end user but considerable extra costs for manufacturers which inevitably will be passed on to consumers. Another consequence will be the fact that it will no longer possible to build your own trailer because the cost of getting it type approved would be prohibitive.
Once these new regulations are in place, the next logical step would be MOTs for caravans and trailers. However to implement this, some sort of registration scheme would be necessary. There are a vast number of trailers and caravans in circulation and getting owners to register them would be an unenviable task. So the most likely route would be to start registering and testing trailers and caravans produced from 2010 onwards. Of course all this will cost money so it is not hard to imagine some sort of road fund tax to pay for it.I personally think self regulation is the best policy because the majority of caravanners will have perfectly roadworthy caravans. But sadly, it is the irresponsible minority that bring about new legistration that law abiding citizens have to pay for. In conclusion, make sure your caravan is regularly serviced so if MOTs are introduced you won't have any problems.
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