National Association of Trailer Manufacturers – Oops?

I really thought I was done with posts about safety chains.  We have several of them on the site, but I found a video that begs for comment.  I really like the video and subject matter – from the Compliance Director of the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers.  This is a good organization because they are doing a lot to pull together the various DOT and other requirements for manufacturing trailers.

Per their own claims, their focus is safety.  If you have read very much on this website, then you know it is also one of our passions.  – ” Live to do it again! ”

Well, I found this video on the NATM website.  Remember, this is from the folks that claim to champion trailer safety.  But it’s starkly shocking in one section . . . . They are talking about safety checks, specifically safety chains, and showing a poorly fit situation.  Not just a little.  Ooops!

Well, it caught my eye, then I kept thinking about it, and decided to use it as an education tool.  Yes, they should know better, but that’s not why.  We all need to know the better ways to do these things.  I don’t much like all the regulations, but if we have them, then we should use the equipment right.

Safety Seek

OK, let’s play a game of SEEK.  We will use the video as the source for the game.  You can watch the whole video, because it’s generally good.  However we will use just this one screenshot for the game.  Can you find 4 things wrong with the trailer setup in this screenshot of their video?

National Association of Trailer Manufacturers
Screenshot of National Association of Trailer Manufacturers Video.  What’s wrong in this image?
If you want to see the video, just click the image.  The image is a link.

I see 6 things of importance in the image that need improvement for safety.  Can you find 4?

It may help to use this close-up of the connection area.  Extra points if you can put the items you find in order of most importance for safety.  (Admittedly, there is some room for variations in the order.  However, for the sake of the game, let’s see if you can match my order, and also match the reasoning.)

Closeup of NATM Screenshot.

Why Pick On The National Association of Trailer Manufacturers?

Well, it is not my intent to levy criticism, rather a friendly nudge.  Hopefully you – and they – have a sense of humor about the reminder and the importance of properly setting up safety equipment.  It matters.

Why discuss it here publicly on the website?  2 good reasons.

  1. Most important:  I want to help educate about setting up safety equipment right.  There is too much nebulous assumption, and how better to teach than to use examples.  ** There is little benefit in having a parachute as you jump from a plane – if you don’t strap it on.
  2. If NATM, the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers, is the example, the ones who push the standards, then they need to BE the example, not just the talk.  This organization is not part of the government, they are a self-proclaimed authority.  Who was it with the famous quote “Walk the Talk”?  Let’s do it, and do it together so that safety really improves.

So many people don’t understand the safety equipment.  We have laws about chains and breakaway systems, and lights, etc..  But who is leading the way for educating people about them?  It is no wonder more people don’t understand!  If the experts don’t do it right, then how is everyone else supposed to learn?  OK, in fairness, while they are saying the right things, they are just not doing it.  – In their own published safety video.

Can you see 4 things (or 6 things) in the screenshot of their video that are wrong (more or less) with respect to the safety equipment?  Hint, I am including several things in the image relating to safety – more than just the chains.

Need Some Help?

Here are a few articles where we discuss things in the image.  Maybe not everything, but most.  Enjoy the reading.  A link to the answers is below.

Trailer Safety Chains?

Good Ways To Shorten Trailer Safety Chain

The Low-Down On Twisting Safety Chains

Where and How to Attach Safety Chains

Improving Trailer Safety Chain Connections

The Trailer Breakaway Kit

One Last Thought

I’ve heard people complain about safety chains saying things like “I’ve been pulling trailers for 30 years and the chains have done nothing more than get in the way.”  OK, I get it.  I hope you are always successful.  Actually, I’ve never had to use chains either, but not for nothing.

A hitch bouncing off the tow ball is one of the most common reasons to need safety equipment.  It is rarely a failure of the hitch or ball, but rather human error when hooking things up.  Sometimes things are not properly tight, or the hitch did not seat properly on the ball.  It’s often hard to tell in the aftermath of an accident.  Regardless of reasons, accidents where the hitch comes undone happen way too often.  Get the safety equipment right, then the seriousness of such an incident is greatly reduced.

Hopefully you will never need the safety chains!  And, if you are properly prepared with everything in its place, then you probably won’t.

To Our National Association of Trailer Manufacturers Friends

Thank you for playing along with our game.  Again, this article is not in any way for disrespect of the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers, NATM, but to strengthen awareness.

The list of answers (the things I found) are here:  Check Your Safety Awareness.  Enjoy.


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