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TOPIC: Law is an ass.

Law is an ass. 4 years 5 months ago #296713

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Hi,



Lets assume you have a Group B licence only. You are restricted to towing a trailer with a MGW of no more than the ULW weight of your tow car. I'll accept that there has to be a limit, and that OUGHT to be a fairly easy formula to get your mind around. You don't even have to be particularly good at doing sums.



It is accepted wisdom, that the lower the towing ratio (weight of trailer/towcar) the better.



Taking my own circumstances (ignoring my B+E), my old Series Land Rover has an unladen weight of about 1400kg, which means I can pull a similar 1400kg trailer, and still have a 700kg payload available. My Discovery had an unladen weight of about 2000kg, so I ought to be able to pull a 2000kg trailer. Wrong!



A Group B licence restricts me to a combined 3500kg MGW, thus dropping my towing capacity to 1500kg MGW. This is further reduced by any passenges and luggage carried within the Disco, which could be 500kg without really trying.



So a fully laden (500kg payload) Series Land Rover can tow a 1400kg MGW trailer. But a fully laden Discovery can only tow a 1000kg MGW trailer. Which is safest? Which is easiest to drive? No doubt there are many other, better, examples. ????



I'm not a lover of legislation, but I would like to suggest the following. All new towbars should be stamped with the registration of the car they are being fitted to, PLUS the towing capacity of that car - WRIT LARGE, no need to get down on your hands and knees to read it.



Similarly, the MGW of all caravans should be WRIT LARGE on the drawbar.



The idea is that nobody should be able to hook a trailer onto their car without being aware of the legality (or not). And Plod (affectionate term, unless expressed otherwise) will be able to recognise a "perp" without getting his knees dirty.



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Law is an ass. 4 years 5 months ago #296714

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You say that you would like to see the registration of the car on the towbar. I can't figure out what you think that would achieve. Can you please explain?

The towing capacity of the car is already clearly displayed on the VIN plate and it should also be shown in the V5c certificate. Having it on the towbar would not be possible because the same towbar may be fitted to vehicles with different towing capacity.

The MGW of the caravan should also be shown on the caravan's VIN plate although this is not always applied to the drawbar.
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Law is an ass. 4 years 5 months ago #296715

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Hi,



That is the point, the towbar can be removed from the car it was fitted to, and put on a lesser car. Therefore any weight stamped on the tow bar is meaningless.



I lend you my car, so you can get you caravan home following you tow car breaking down. Would you know where to find my VIN plate? Would Plod know where to find it?



My idea is to make it easy to avoid breaking the law, and equally easy for ANYONE to see, if you do.



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Law is an ass. 4 years 5 months ago #296716

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Any weight shown on the towbar is meaningless anyway whether stamped on it or not and whether the towbar has subsequently been transferred to another vehicle or not, because it only states what the towbar is capable of towing, never the car's towing limit (for the reason that you mention). The powers-that-be should be aware of this and always refer to the VIN plate or the V5c certificate for defintive information.

The VIN plate is usually readily visible in the engine compartment, either on the upper dash panel or the front radiator crossmember, or somewhere on the door frame. Otherwise the same details will be shown in the V5c certificate. Anyone borrowing someone else's car to tow and not asking the owner or checking details himself first, is asking for trouble anyway. There really is no need to crawl under the car or caravan to convince yourself whether the outfit is legal or not.
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Law is an ass. 4 years 5 months ago #296717

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Hi Lutz,



Ah, but my idea is that the vehicle registration and towing capacity are stamped on the towbar at the time it is fitted to the car.



OK, I had assumed that towbars must be fitted professionally these days, but I am probably wrong in that. It just seems silly that all the legislation is aimed at ensuring the towbar is up to the trailer, without ensuring the tow car is up to the drawbar.



I cannot think of any of my friends who have NOT towed something without checking the various permitted weights. One such friend borrowed a large car transporter trailer, dragged a Bristol 405 convertible back from Cornwall to Swansea. No problem until he reached his drive. His 1300cc Astra had front wheel drive, could not get a grip on the slope. He was certainly not a silly man .... though maybe what he did was. My Land Rover to the rescue.



Is there anybody else on this forum who will admit to just hooking on a trailer, assuming that everything was OK? That is one reason that I drive a Land Rover ..... it is unlikely that I will meet anything that it is not capable of towing, legally.



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Law is an ass. 4 years 5 months ago #296718

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I figure that if someone is so unconcerned that they don't check towing capacity by looking at the VIN plate or V5c certificate before hitching up, then they aren't going to bother to look at the towbar, either.



If a towbar is factory fitted, then the car will not have been registered at the time of fitting so it would not be possible to have the registration stamped on the assembly. And the same part number of towbar could be fitted to the same model but with different engines and hence with different towing capacity.



It should be plainly obvious that a 1300cc Astra is not going to legally be able to tow a Bristol 405 convertible whether there is a plate to that effect on the towbar or not.
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Law is an ass. 4 years 5 months ago #296719

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Hi Lutz,



OK, not a good idea.



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Law is an ass. 4 years 5 months ago #296720

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Hi 602,



I agree with analysis of the safety aspects the relative ratio's, but the point behind the licence restriction is it sets a limit on the total mass the driver is controlling from a legal perspective. It has no real concern with the mechanical capabilities of the individual car etc.

All advice and opinions given are my own and are given in good faith, unless quoted with references, The reader should verify the information provided with relevant professionals before acting on it
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Law is an ass. 4 years 5 months ago #296721

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I would just like to add that in order to allow freedom of movement within Europe, the licence categories are common EU-wide and any change would have to be agreed to by all member states.
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Law is an ass. 4 years 5 months ago #296722

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Hi Lutz,



Thats what ought to happen, only in France, they deduct points from your licence, while in UK they add them. I wonder if there is a mathmatical scam in there. Add three points in UK for speeding, nip over to France, get caught speeding, have them taken off again. Probably not :-)



What would happen if the French equivalent of a spotty youth (age 14)brought his 50cc scooter over to UK, and was caught riding it?



In UK, somebody who is severely disabled can drive a car at age 16. But would they be allowed to drive it elsewhere in EU?



The French licence does not expire at age 70, athough I assume there are other age restrictions.



Newly qualified drivers in France have to dislay a big "A" (for apprentice?) for two years after passing their test.



French cars are not subject to Road Tax, they pay tolls (except in Britanny, where somebody royal said it wouldn't happen. ???)

But to be legal in France, your UK car must be legal in UK. So you pay UK tax and French tolls. Seems a bit one sided?



The French MOT (Controle Tecnique) is every TWO years, and costs less.



French caravans have to have their own registration and insurance. I have the feeling that a British driver cannot tow a French caravan, but my memory is vague on this, and I could be thinking about something else. A French car cannot tow a UK caravan.



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