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RVing message boards => Trailers & Fifthwheels => Topic started by: grashley on October 02, 2017, 06:59:41 PM

Title: Safety Chains
Post by: grashley on October 02, 2017, 06:59:41 PM
What are the regulations concerning safety chains when towing a FW with an Andersen Ultimate (ball) hitch?   

Required or not?   Vary by state?  Enforcement?
Title: Re: Safety Chains
Post by: steveblonde on October 02, 2017, 07:10:39 PM
Gord you dont need chains but you must have a breakaway switch that activates the brakes if the two become separated
Chain will actually cause more issues than they are worth its better the let the 5er fall away by itself
Title: Re: Safety Chains
Post by: Roy M on October 02, 2017, 07:31:14 PM
I believe most jurisdictions require safety chains with a ball hitch. A fifth wheel connection does not.
Title: Re: Safety Chains
Post by: Joezeppy on October 02, 2017, 08:13:26 PM
I remember their website mentioned one state in the Midwest required them but no others. I also think there was some ambiguity in some states though so what I did was bought them but don't use them. If I ever get stopped I could easily hook them up.
Title: Re: Safety Chains
Post by: longhaul on October 02, 2017, 08:24:44 PM
As others say safety chains requirements vary by state.
 When I pulled heavy GN trailers the company I sub'd with had a chain up requirement policy regardless of a state regulation. Wise idea.
 I've had hitches  come off balls on GN and bumper pull trailers and sure glad the chains worked.
 I've seen the results of a runaway trailer. Cost one owner/operator his CDL/wrecked trailer and its load impounded.....luckily the trailer went off the road into a ditch with no injuries.
 Chain it up for safety sake.
Title: Re: Safety Chains
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on October 03, 2017, 12:47:51 PM
The Anderson is a gooseneck with a ball mount, so technically not a 5W hitch. Not sure how the various state laws would apply re ball mounts and safety chains.

etrailer.com answers that question with a "Yes" (required), but they may be erring on the side of caution since states laws vary and it can be a legal gray area if the law does not specifically distinguish a goose neck ball from a "bumper pull" ball.

https://www.etrailer.com/question-15369.html
Title: Re: Safety Chains
Post by: VallAndMo on October 03, 2017, 12:52:41 PM
Hello,

For the record, we plan on buying *and* using the safety chains on our upcoming Andersen.

Better safe than sorry, both re: getting a ticket, and keeping the trailer attached to the truck in case the ball gets disconnected.

Cheers,
--
   Vall and Mo.
Title: Re: Safety Chains
Post by: skipperjon on October 03, 2017, 06:16:55 PM
Sure, Etrailer sells the chains so yes, they will tell you that they are required.
Title: Re: Safety Chains
Post by: kdbgoat on October 04, 2017, 06:41:17 AM
Sure, Etrailer sells the chains so yes, they will tell you that they are required.

And you think they don't consider the liability they would face by not recommending that one uses chains? It's not always about the sale.
Title: Re: Safety Chains
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on October 04, 2017, 06:57:03 AM
It's legally much safer to recommend for any safety device than to recommend against it.
Title: Re: Safety Chains
Post by: skipperjon on October 04, 2017, 05:41:28 PM
So if the manufacturer who could be liable in this case, doesn't say that they are required, with one exception. I would think that they have researched this and would include the chains with the hitch if required. When I bought a gooseneck trailer, it came with the chains.
Title: Re: Safety Chains
Post by: John From Detroit on October 05, 2017, 06:59:47 AM
The requirement, at least in Michigan, is in the Vehicle Code.  As a vehicle operator you are required to know the code.. Thus. the manufacturer has an "Out" as it were.

But I do agree they should point it out .
Title: Re: Safety Chains
Post by: Joezeppy on October 05, 2017, 08:10:09 AM
Andersen's angle is that they have marketed this as a "5th wheel hitch" and while I don't know the legality behind it, they have gotten around the safety chain requirements for a goose neck hitch. The one state they cite that requires chains (I tried to look it up but could not find it on their site - I want to say it was ID) is because their requirement is for any trailer connected with a ball mount.
Title: Re: Safety Chains
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on October 05, 2017, 08:51:05 AM
Quote
So if the manufacturer who could be liable in this case, doesn't say that they are required, with one exception. I would think that they have researched this and would include the chains with the hitch if required. When I bought a gooseneck trailer, it came with the chains.

You can buy dozens of ball mount hitches or couplers that do NOT include safety chains in the package. Or the trailer running lights and brake connections that are also required when towing. Nothing says a component supplier has to supply everything needed for legal operation in all states. You can bet that somewhere in their literature they have a statement that says something like "installation must comply with state and federal law", putting the installer and you on the hook instead of them.

The legal liability aspect comes into play when business that can be supposed to be "expert" in that subject gives advice that turns out to be faulty. Ifsomebody on Facebook tells you chains are not needed but you get arrested for not having them, it would be futile to sue them because they are just another voice on the internet blathering away. However, if etrailer.com incorrectly tells you that via their online Towing Tips,  a civil lawsuit would probably win because they can be presumed to be a "towing expert".  The legal notion about "presumed expertise" is why most companies are now very evasive about giving any kind of advice to laymen about using a product in anything other than a narrowly prescribed and well-tested manner. 

Oh, wait! Ignore everything I just said because I'm not a lawyer and have no presumed legal expertise!  :)