In 2012 the European Commission announced further regulation that would bring in tougher testing rules for vehicles and trailers in an effort to reduce fatal road accidents linked to technical failure.

Regulation abandoned

However, pressure from the UK Government and other Member States forced the Commission to abandon its plans for a roadworthiness regulation and instead to introduce its proposals in the form of an EU Directive.

Directives, unlike regulations, allow member states to reflect the local needs of their citizens when they are transposed into national law.

Stuart Carruthers, RYA Cruising Manager. “We have been assured that the proposed Directive will no longer apply to un-braked trailers of less than 750Kg gross weight and we continue to make the case for all trailers of less than 3500Kg to be exempted.  

“The Commission’s proposal for a regulation on roadworthiness met with fierce resistance from a number of Member States, including the UK. We are pleased that the UK Government fully supports all aspects of the RYA position”.

Extend the scope of testing

The proposed regulation aimed to extend the scope of roadworthiness testing to trailers up to 3500kg gross weight and included un-braked light trailers that have a gross weight of less than 750kg. 

This would have had significant implications for a wide range of vehicle owners including many trailer boat owners and those that tow dinghies and Personal Water Craft.

The UK Department for Transport began discussing the detail of the proposal at EU level in September 2012 and asked industry, user groups and representative associations for their views to inform those discussions.

The RYA played a full part in this consultation. The RYA made a number of crucial points relevant to its members.

Significant cost

We made it quite clear that we saw no evidence to suggest that the inclusion of trailers of less than 3500kg in the proposed regulation would substantially improve UK road safety and that it would therefore impose significant costs on recreational boaters with negligible road safety benefits.

The RYA also argued that the additional costs of trailer registration and testing associated with implementing the proposed regulation were wholly disproportionate compared to the perceived cost-benefits set out in the Commission’s Impact Assessment.

The UK Government supported by a number of other Member States expressed serious concerns with the Commission’s approach. The UK argued that a Regulation was against the principles of subsidiarity and prevented it from reflecting the local needs of its citizens.