Caravaners the Subject of Police Safety Operation

We can now confirm that as part of the current Operation Roadwise, police in the East Gippsland area will be out in force over the holiday period to educate road users on caravan safety.

Local police, with the assistance of VicRoads and the Sheriff, will set up a site at the Newmerella Rest Stop on Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th January from 9.30am where, amongst other tasks, they will educate travellers about caravan and tow vehicle weights, general safety around towing and how to manage fatigue on long journeys.

Location for the Police Operation in Newmerella Victoria. Image curtesy Google Maps.

Acting Sergeant Graeme Shenton said the objective is not to fine every driver with a caravan that may be overweight or non-compliant with vehicle standards, rather they want to use this opportunity to educate and generate discussion around towing safety and road safety in general. Obviously, if there are any major issues with your registration, road worthiness or if you have any outstanding fines, you can expect a little more than a ‘discussion’.

We also understand representatives from various media outlets, forums, magazines, clubs, blog sites and Facebook Groups will be on site to provide first hand reporting on the operation itself. This open approach will ensure that an ongoing positive discussion about towing safety takes place in both mainstream and social media.

Again, we would encourage travellers not to avoid the area but to take advantage of the opportunity to find out whether or not they are, in fact, legal. It is rare that you can openly discuss towing safety issues with the officers who are actually tasked with enforcing the law. It will certainly be better than some of the advice and opinions shared on forums and social media.

Victoria Police will release a small media piece on the morning of the 4th on their news website and their Facebook page with further details about the Newmerella operation.

Merry Christmas and Safe Travels.

14 thoughts on “Caravaners the Subject of Police Safety Operation

  1. About time police become pro active rather than become the heavy enforcer of all things revenue related. Police need to educate and not just enforce laws. There are thousands of laws that are ambiguous and unknown and even police have to study them in order to enforce them.

    1. It’s a good point. Probably makes sense when you know that the officer organising it is a caravanner himself and is active on a few forums. He’s worked very hard to get the operation set up this way.

  2. I don’t know about Victoria but the speed limit for towing in Western Australia is 100 KPH. and the number of caravaners who speed is bad enough but if they are overweight as well. its a recipe for disaster…

      1. Anyone towing a large van over 100 is stupid anyway – my usual touring speed is 90 MAX but if say on a Freeway will go up to 100 all depending on conditions!

  3. Maybe… a good initiative by police to build their image…. But at the end of the day the driver is responsible. I can’t believe so many plead ignorance of their responsibilities as road users and licence holders….. Load van correctly. Check lights & rego. Know your height and your length. Check ball weight. Check tow vehicle capability. Go over weigh bridge. Do a road test and see all is OK.

    1. Definitely not an image building exercise on behalf of the police. The officer organising it is a caravanner himself and understands the issues and challenges we face. Ignorance is no excuse, I agree, but when you look at the bigger issue, it’s easy to understand how caravaners end up as the meat in the sandwich. Dodgy manufacturers, confusing regulations and a heavy handed application of the law make it very difficult for the uninitiated.

  4. This is a great move in the right direction by all parties to have access to correct procedures in the intrest of caravanning and regulations with the format of road safety for interested participants

  5. I think that it is essential a licence should be created for caravaner. I have seen to many bad tows and drivers that are cant reverse its beggars belief that Joe Blow can purchase a 3.5 t Van and tow it with ute or car having never before driving a small car. My rig is 16m combined length and over 7t which any inexperienced driver can take off in. not right in my book as they are not only a danger to themselves also other road users.

    1. Hi Neil,

      Its hard to agrue with your logic. Its amazing the wide variety of vehicles you can drive on a normal licence with little more than a rudimentary knowledge of the road rules. Certainly no towing experience or training. Perhaps if drivers want to tow something bigger than 2500kgs, they should do a towing course and have their licence endorsed. Some knowledge and formal recognition seems to be the least that could be done. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will happen.

  6. I have had a semi licence since 1974 coach licence since around 1980 used both extensively now towing a 21ft 3.5 off road van. I believed the licence papers and what was on I d plates of van. Not full of water or gen set or food , clothing ect I am 1.2 tonne over. I will have to upgrade van and 200series. I I had been caught it would be my fault, why is the lying thieving manufacturer allowed to lie to a govt dept with immunity while I lose my rig???

    1. Hi Lindsay

      I dont know what to say. That sounds like an absolute disaster. Have you tried talking to the manufacturer about the issue? It sounds like they have sold you a product that is not fit for purpose. If they are not willing to help you out, perhaps suggest that the road authority in your state may be interested in hearing about the issue.

      There’s a lot of noise being made about lemon laws and dodgey caravan manufacturers, I think change is in the wind. The more owners like yourself speak up, the more pressure will fall upon regulators to do more.

      I hope you’re able to sort out your problem. Good Luck.

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