Do you need rated shackles when towing?

Article by · 7 March 2017 ·

A rumour circulating around the country suggesting police are cracking down on unauthorised caravan attachments is continuing to dupe caravan owners.

Social media has been abuzz with stories suggesting highway patrol officers in various states have been fining caravan owners for not having the right D shackles used to connect the emergency chains from the caravan chassis to the towbar.

Where the story started is anyone’s guess, although a Facebook post claimed Queensland Police had been issuing Infringement Notices in the Gympie area for non-load rated D shackles used to tow caravans, boats and trailers.

The misinformation has spread around parks and camping grounds like a bushfire, no doubt inflamed by happy hours.

Police in almost every state have now denied the rumours, although Roam is aware of one NSW repair business recently asked by a caravan owner to drill bigger holes in a tow bar to accommodate more sturdy “yellow coloured” shackles.

Police say the only requirement for all towing equipment, balls, chains and D shackles, is “suitability for purpose”. No specific colour coding is mentioned in the relevant Australian standards or recommendations. Colour coding may be used by manufactures to indicate capacity, however this is not necessarily the case.

A Queensland Transport and Roads Department spokesperson told Time to Roam; “The rules don’t set standards for shackles, they are required to be fit for purpose and it is up to the vehicle operator to ensure the shackles used are appropriate.”

Have you been fined for incorrect d-shackles? Let us know. 

About Rod Bruem

The founding editor of ROAM, Rod lived in a Viscount caravan as a cadet journalist in the 1980s. The idea for Time to Roam came after he inherited the caravan from his Aunt Dolce and he set about restoring it.

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