The A Frame Debate

In many an online forum thread on towing a car with an A-Frame, it has been stated that the law has changed in November 2014, so I thought it would be useful to summarise the current position.

The Department For Transport (DFT) says;


When an "A" frame is attached to a vehicle (e.g. a motor car) and towed by a motor vehicle (e.g.motorhome) we believe the "A" frame and car become a single unit and as such are classified in legislation as a trailer. As a consequence the car and “A”-frame are required to meet the technical requirements for trailers when used on the road in Great Britain.

The technical requirements changed in November 2014 as a result of Directive 2007/46/EC coming into law which means enforcement of UNECE regulation 13 and in particular for a trailer under 3500 tons (Category O2) The specific parts of regulation 13 are:

Quote; Trailers of category O2 shall be equipped with a service braking system either of the continuous or semi-continuous or of the inertia (overrun) type. The latter type shall be permitted only for centre axle trailers.

2.12 "Inertia (or overrun) braking" means braking by utilizing the forces generated by the trailer's moving up on the towing vehicle.

It is quite clear to me that after November 2014 the sale of A-Frames with over run braking systems for use on multiple axle trailers, in this case a car, will be illegal. Twin axle trailers with axles less than one meter apart are not affected e.g. twin axle caravans.

It remains to be seen whether this will be retrospectively applied or if A-Frames using other braking systems will be effected. Currently it is believed it will not be applied retrospectively but it does appear the suppliers of new A-Frames will have to have these type approved if they wish to sell these after November 2014.

In addition please see article on the National Trailer & Towing Association: