EMRCC/03/08 18 February 2008
EAST MIDLANDS TRAFFIC OFFICERS BACK NEW HIGHWAYS AGENCY FIT TO TOW DVD
To raise awareness of the safety risks involved when towing a caravan or trailer and the importance of ensuring you are towing safely, the Highways Agency has today launched its new safety DVD, Fit to Tow, presented by Carol Smillie.
Incidents involving vehicles towing caravans or trailers accounted for 43 fatalities and 1400 injuries on England’s roads in 2006 (latest annual statistics). In the East Midlands alone, on-road traffic officers and their colleagues in the control room have dealt with 647 incidents involving towing during 2007.
The new DVD, developed by the Highways Agency, features practical demonstrations on how to correctly attach your trailer or caravan, how to maintain it and what to check for to ensure it is safe to tow before you go.
Advice on how to prepare your trailer or caravan safely for a journey, speed limits, licensing, break down recovery and how to plan your journey also feature.
Presenter, Carol Smillie, said:
“I was amazed when I discovered just how many towing-related incidents occurred on England’s roads and how many fatalities and injuries resulted from them, not to mention the disruption they can cause,
“I was really pleased when the Highways Agency approached me to present this helpful DVD. I fully support this initiative and I would advise anyone who tows to follow the simple, practical checks and advice included in the film to ensure you are Fit to Tow.”
Len Short, Events Manager, The Caravan Club, said:
“The Caravan Club represents over a million caravanners, motor caravanners and trailer tenters and we are very pleased to support this new DVD which highlights the importance of advocating best practice for towing which is of paramount importance to The Caravan Club. The Club does all it can to ensure members are safe and confident whilst on the road, one of the key ways we achieve this is by providing training courses which are regularly attended by over 2,000 participants each year."
The Agency launched the Fit to Tow DVD at the The National Boat, Caravan & Outdoor Show 2008 at the NEC, and will be providing copies of the DVD to its key stakeholders, including The Caravan Club and British Horse Society.
Mrs Sheila Hardy, Senior Executive Safety, The British Horse Society, also welcomed the Fit to Tow messages:
“The British Horse Society is delighted that the Highways Agency has taken this opportunity to highlight the need for all drivers to be 'Fit to Tow'. Above all they have emphasised the need for drivers to appreciate that in order to tow most trailers, they need to take further training and another test. Working in partnership with the British Horse Society has offered additional emphasis to a message that they have been giving for the past 10 years, to all who tow horse trailers - you need to have a B+E licence to do so. We hope through this initiative, the message will be spread to all drivers.”
Roger Wright, Highways Agency Technical Adviser, said:
"In the lead up to the holiday season, we are again urging road users not to take their caravan, trailer or horse trailer out on the road without a proper maintenance check, especially if it has been left standing for most of the year. With a simple once−over before you set off, you could avoid breaking down and delaying not only your journey but other road users as well.
"With proper preparation, a lot of inconvenience can be avoided. Our advice to all drivers is to also make sure you have the proper cover with your recovery service. “
When incidents do occur on the Highways Agency network of England’s motorways and major A roads, they often result in lanes being closed for extended period of time while vehicles and trailers are recovered and debris is cleared from the carriageway.
Having a live animal on board can also complicate matters when dealing with a broken down or damaged vehicle Horses are easily spooked and there is the risk that animals could jump over the central reservation into moving traffic on the opposite carriageway posing a serious risk to motorists. For safety reasons, it is sometimes necessary to close whole motorways while horses are sedated and transferred into alternative trailers.
Highways Agency Traffic Officers deal with many towing-related incidents and support the police in dealing with them. As well as this, our Traffic Officers frequently come across drivers towing trailers without sufficient cover for breakdown and recovery.
To view the Fit to Tow DVD or get a copy of our accompanying Fit to Tow advice leaflet or for further information visit www.highways.gov.uk/towing. To request a copy of the DVD or a hard copy of the leaflet, or for any other query please call the Highways Agency Information Line on 08457 50 40 30.
Notes to Editors
Carol Smillie and/or a Highways Agency spokesperson are available for interviews. Please put your bid to the East Midlands Highways Agency press office on 0115 855 2051.
Please note that an interview with Carol Smillie will be dependent on her availability.
The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. We manage, maintain and improve England’s motorways and major A roads on behalf of the Secretary of State.
The DVD will be made available to Police Forces, Fire and Rescue Services, Local Safety Partnerships and other bodies involved in road safety education as part of the Highways Agency Safety Action Tool Kit.
Real -time traffic information for England’s motorways and major A roads is now available:
From our new Traffic Radio service, available on DAB digital radio and the internet at www.trafficradio.org.uk To tune into the DAB service, simply press the "scan" button on your radio. The radio will tune into all available channels and you can select the new service by scrolling through the channels until you reach "Traffic Radio".
On the internet at www.highways.gov.uk/trafficinfo
By phone from the Highways Agency 24-hour voice activated phone service on 08700 660 115. (Calls from BT landlines to 0870 numbers will cost no more than 8p per minute; mobile calls usually cost more).
3. Before using a mobile, find a safe place to park. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency. Make sure it’s safe and legal before you call.
4. For more general information about the Highways Agency and its work, visit the Highways Agency website www.highways.gov.uk, or telephone the Highways Agency Information Line on 08457 50 40 30 at any time. (Calls to 0845 numbers cost no more than 3p/min from BT residential landlines. Call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary)
Issued by the Highways Agency Press Office. For enquiries from the media, journalists and researchers only, call 0115 855 2051 or email firstname.lastname@example.org