A Frames......again

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by big map, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. big map

    big map Funster Life Member

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    Following our trip abroad recently we understand now, from first hand experience, that you can be stopped and fined for using a caratow system to tow a car behind a motorhome in Germany. In our defense we believed that A frames were acceptable throughout Europe with the exception of Spain. With hindsight we should have done more in-depth research.

    We have towed the car in the UK, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany over the past few weeks and when on our return journey home we were stopped by the Police 40 miles from the Dutch boarder and fined and told to disconnect to continue our journey. The Officers initially wanted to fine us 135 euros which included licence and braking offences but after in depth discussions including proof that I had a full LGV licence and that the vehicle brakes were operating this was reduced to 25 euros. The offence code was by the officers admission one which was used to cover a multitude of violations, including running out of fuel on a motorway. We did show the officer the regulations on the Caratow website which are translated into most European languages but this didn't make any difference to the outcome. The Police officer told us from his understanding it was legal to use this system in Holland but he was unsure about Belgium and he thought it could not be used in Spain.

    So our question is "Is there a motoring organisation or body or bodies who can be contacted for a definitive answer as to the legality of towing a car on an a frame outside of the UK?"

    Your help is appreciated.
     
  2. old-mo

    old-mo Funster Extra Special Life Member

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    Is the Caratow system electronic braked.. ??

    ie... built in compter in the towed car, or is it cable type for the brakes..
     
  3. big map

    big map Funster Life Member

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    It is a cable type
     
  4. old-mo

    old-mo Funster Extra Special Life Member

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    Thanks... And sorry you got done... :crying:

    We have the electronic system.. (Which is supposed to be legal except in Spain.. :RollEyes::BigGrin:)

    I`ll let you know next spring... :wink::BigGrin:
     
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  5. big map

    big map Funster Life Member

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    To be honest it wouldn't have made any difference to the police officer if it had been an electronic system or an over-run braking system, he insisted that it was illegal to tow a car in Germany that was capable of propelling itself. The only time a car can be towed behind another vehicle, according to the officer, was in case of breakdown and then only to the next exit or service area, and then you may face a fine for not having ensured your vehicle was roadworthy before setting off eg if you run out of fuel you may be charged under the same violation they used for us, for not ensuring your vehicle had enough fuel.
     
  6. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    I must ask the question....Did they give you a receipt.
     
  7. schojac

    schojac Read Only Funster

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    AS far as I am aware the cable operated A frame is illegal. This is due to the fact that the cable operated braking system cannot be reversed as the overrun system will apply the brakes straight away as the unit moves backwards. On that count it does not comply with current regulations. There is also doubt as to whether the system effectively applies the required amount of braking efficiency; as this is difficult to measure it tends to be overlooked as a grey area. To this end it would appear that the only system that approaches meeting current regs is the electronic controlled one.

    To date there has not been any prosecutions regarding the use of A frame towing in the UK. there has been a press release that the law will not be changed/amended in 2014; however, opinion is that there will be a decision sometime in 2015.

    Do I have an A frame? - yes, it's a car-a-tow cable system and I will continue to use it until.................:)
     
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  8. big map

    big map Funster Life Member

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    Yes they did and I also asked them to write down specifically the violation we had infringed.
     
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  9. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Thanks, so it was not a coffee fine then.
     
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  10. big map

    big map Funster Life Member

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    Regarding the reversing using a caratow system I have been able to reverse in a straight line for well over 200m without a problem.
     
  11. big map

    big map Funster Life Member

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    No as an experienced international convoi exceptional driver I can smell a coffee fine a mile off :)
     
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  12. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Question for written answer P-000299/12
    to the Commission
    Brian Simpson (S&D)
    (17 January 2012)


    Subject: Legal clarity over towing a car on an A-frame
    I am writing to you on behalf of a constituent, who was recently issued with a fine for towing a car on an A-frame behind a motorhome while travelling on holiday in Germany. As I understand it, the UK’s Department for Transport finds that where an A-frame is attached to a vehicle (e.g. a motor car) and towed by a motor vehicle, the A-frame and the car become a single unit and as such are classified in legislation as a trailer. The UK Department for Transport concludes that the car and the A-frame satisfy the legal requirements for trailers both under UK law and EC law. However the German authorities refute that this is legal in Germany, arguing that it is not legal to tow a car behind a motorhome in Germany and that this is fully compatible with EC law.
    For the sake of clarity, could the Commission clarify whether or not it is legal for a UK citizen to tow a car on an A-frame in Germany, as well as in the rest of the EU?


    Answer given by Mr Kallas on behalf of the Commission
    (6 February 2012)
    The specific technical provisions for passenger cars that may freely circulate on public roads in the European Union are not defined by EU legislation but by an agreement under the auspices of the UN-ECE, the so-called ‘Vienna Convention on Road Traffic’ (1) to which the individual Member States are contracting party.
    According to this Convention the vehicle combinations admitted to circulation in international traffic must be made up of a motor vehicle and a trailer designed to be coupled to a motor vehicle.
    As this is not the case in the situation described by the Honourable Member, a vehicle combination of two motor vehicles attached to each other by an A-frame may only circulate in those Member States where the relevant national legislation contains respective provisions.
     
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  13. big map

    big map Funster Life Member

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    Thanks ScotJimLand that's really useful. I wont bother appealing to the German authorities then ;-) Now what about the rest of mainland Europe? Any thoughts???
     
  14. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    this applies to all of the EU or do you mean outside the EU, like an independent Scotland? :LOL:
     
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  15. schojac

    schojac Read Only Funster

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    Spain and to an extent Italy and now Germany is a No, No. France is acceptable but I would advise that there should be a second driver just in case there is a request to uncouple and continue as separate units. I'm sure others will have comments regarding other countries
     
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  16. big map

    big map Funster Life Member

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    ScotJimLand do you think information will be available at the border control and currency exchange officer on English / Scottish crossing point?
     
  17. tambo

    tambo Read Only Funster

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    An independent Scotland would be welcomed with huge open arms in the European union .......i just can't understand why we want it
     
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  18. tambo

    tambo Read Only Funster

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    Ive applied for the position of border control officer ......i take bribes otherwise yer no getting in
     
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  19. knokinonabit

    knokinonabit Funster

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    I'll be your opposite number in England and bribe or no bribe...............
    You're not getting out
     
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  20. tambo

    tambo Read Only Funster

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    That's ok I only usually fly over it :)
     
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