There is evidence showing that towing trailers can be more likely to result in serious or fatal road accidents.
The Transport Research Laboratory analysed accidents over a five year period and identified a total of 4,173 reported accidents involving at least one car / van towing a trailer. Of these towing trailer accidents, 100 were fatal (2.4%), 671 were serious (16.1%) and 3,402 were slight (81.5%). The corresponding percentages for all cars / van accidents are roughly 1% fatal, 11% serious and 88% slight.
If a trailer is used for work it falls under PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations) and requires routine inspections to ensure the trailer is in safe working order. In addition The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 specify the need for maintenance and use of vehicles so as not to be a danger to any person in or on the vehicle or trailer or on a road.
The frequency of servicing and maintenance of trailers will often depend on the type and frequency of usage, but it is recommended to complete a daily inspection or before each use - certain checks are essential for safety. Ref: NTTA (National Trailer & Towing Association).
Each trailer check book contains 25 individual inspections relating to trailers - the components, hitching and structural integrity. These checks should be completed before the trailer is used. Duplicate carbon copies of the completed trailer inspection are retained in the check book for management records. The book also includes useful guidance notes to remind operatives what to look for during the inspection of their trailers.