Caravan owners warned of dangerous issues after DVSA spot checks

The Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) recently carried out random checks on 730 caravans, with 12 percent found to have a “prohibitable defect”. The checks, which were carried out by the Advanced Analytics Division between 2019 and 2021, found that most errors were for faulty exterior lights.

Of the other 3,083 trailers which were tested, it was estimated that half had such defects.

The Caravan and Motorhome Club says the results of a random spot check survey of trailers published this month by the DVSA show that caravan owners are “far and away not the greatest concern” among all trailer users.

However, the organisation said there is no room for caravan drivers to be complacent.

Martin Spencer, technical manager of the Caravan and Motorhome Club, commented on the report, saying it was “good” and “provides credible insight into what the real issues are (or aren’t)”.

He added the results show that “caravans are far and away not the greatest concern within the sector”.

Faulty exterior lights caused 57 percent of the prohibitions, followed by issues with the chassis which affected 22 percent.

Some of the other reasons included the running gear (11 percent), bodywork (eight percent) and brakes (two percent).

The DVSA did warn that the data recording was slightly compromised by the onset of the pandemic in the second half of the survey period.

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As a result, the agency is currently running further spot checks on 2,000 vehicles.

Mr Spencer added that a large proportion of the faults uncovered were “things which owners really should be readily aware of”.

In May 2022, the DVSA announced the creation of newly-accredited training schemes for drivers in England, Scotland and Wales.

The training course is designed to help people learn and improve the skills they need to safely tow a trailer.

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Experts urge drivers to look into the scheme, especially if they are planning to tow a trailer or caravan for the first time.

Newly-accredited trainers are running courses to suit every level of ability, in a bid to improve safety among motorists.

This includes: towing for the first time, returning to towing after a break, towing larger trailers and refreshing and formalising skills if they already regularly tow.

Speaking at the time, Baroness Vere, Minister for Roads, Buses and Places, heralded the scheme and the benefits it will have for drivers.

She added: “Towing safely is an important issue and I urge drivers to access the training to help keep Britain’s roads safe.

“The new accreditation scheme will help them to get targeted training and improve their driving skills.

“I want to thank the trailer training industry, stakeholders and our partners for their commitment and support in developing this training scheme over the last few months.”

This was introduced following the scrapping of the B+E test in late 2021, with drivers now encouraged to receive professional training.

From December 16, 2021, all drivers who passed their car driving test from January 1, 1997, could now tow trailers up to 3,500kg MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass).

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