A roadside inspection survey of non-testable trailers started in 2019 and aimed to test 1,300 trailers (up to 3.5 tonnes maximum weight) and 700 touring caravans over a year. Checks, which were not targeted but random, were planned to be spread over the year to account for seasonal effects – for example, caravans are more commonly used in the summer months. Unfortunately, the restrictions imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic meant that the caravan checks were impossible for certain periods, but the trailer checks were continued. As a result, the survey period was extended, and the final checks were completed in the summer of 2021.
The checks show a disparity between the compliance of trailers and caravans. Of 3,083 trailers (non-caravan) that were checked, 50% were non-compliant, and 41% were issued with an immediate prohibition (that is, defects so dangerous that repairs are required before further use of the trailer). Of the 730 caravans that were checked, 12% had a prohibitable defect, 7% being issued with an immediate prohibition.
DVSA enforcement examiners have powers to prohibit unroadworthy vehicles and trailers which have serious defects under Section 69 of the Road Traffic Act 1988
Prohibition action can be:
- immediate – for defects considered dangerous
- delayed – for serious defects which are not considered immediately dangerous
Drivers can also be advised of less serious defects by an inspection notice.