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Car Trailer Regulations Ireland

Since 29 October 2012, the EU has had a common set of trailer construction standards that apply across all member states, including Ireland. Only trailers that conform to these standards can be sold or licensed. Since 29 October 2014, these regulations apply to every type of  new trailer sold in the EU.  Any trailer that has been approved to the standards can be used in any member state of the EU. This approval is called European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval, or ECWVTA.

‘The Design Gross Vehicle Weight (DGVW) of a trailer should be specified by the manufacturer and is the gross weight with the heaviest load it can carry. Category O1 is under 0.75 tonnes; Category O2 is between 0.75 and 3.5 tonnes; Category O3 is between 3.5 and 10 tonnes and Category O4 is greater than 10 tonnes.

O1 and O2 trailers are light duty trailers such as car trailers, horse boxes and boat trailers whereas O3 and O4 are heavy duty trailers including heavy goods trailers and semi-trailers of articulated lorries.

Holders of Category B driving licences can tow an ordinary single axle domestic trailer. Drivers towing a double axle car trailer, horseboxes and three axle trailers will require an EB licence.

If you are thinking of ordering or buying a new trailer, you should make yourself familiar with the regulations and standards.

In summary, all trailers must conform to certain standards. In order for a light trailer to be approved, the following components must conform to European standards and must be correctly installed.

Lights, reflectors, tyres and couplings. The trailer must also have a plate giving details of the gross vehicle design weight.

The main difference between a Class 01 trailer and a class 02 trailer is that a class 02 trailer must have brakes fitted. Brakes are optional on a class 01 trailer but if they are fitted, they must conform to standards.

To be continued…

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