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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Caravan licence test call after carnage on the roads sees 50 dead and 800 injured in just four years - as mobile home sales boom since Covid

Transport industry chiefs have called for caravan owners to face a special licence test after a spate of accidents have caused chaos on Australian roads.

The call comes as caravan sales boom, surging by 30 per cent since the start of the Covid pandemic, according to the Caravan Industry Association of Australia.

But the rising number of caravans on the road, especially in Queensland, has seen a surge in accidents involving mobile holiday homes.

Now Tony Maddison, director of towing technology company WiTi, says owners should be forced to sit a test for a licence and undergo an accredited towing course.

The Caravan and Industries Trade Association Australia and Royal Automobile Club of Queensland have also supported calls for increased driver training.

According to the Queensland Government, 50 people died and almost 800 were injured in crashes involving a light passenger vehicle towing a trailer between 2017 and 2021.

A factsheet on their website warns towing a caravan, camper trailer, boat trailer or horse float requires additional driving skills, concentration, and safety precautions.

Mr Maddison said overweight and unstable caravans are 'a big problem' nationwide because they are often the cause of serious accidents.

'In most cases, drivers only need their car licence and they can hitch up three tonnes or more of caravan and take it out on the roads with no training whatsoever…which is just crazy,' he told the Courier-Mail.

RACQ's road safety manager Joel Tucker said the body believes the Queensland Government should support caravan safety initiatives and more training for caravanners.

'For example, making sure weight limits are not exceeded is vital... we find about 50 per cent of caravans are overweight which is both illegal and unsafe,' he said.

But the move was opposed by Caravan and Industries Trade Association Australia's Luke Chippindale.

He said the industry believes it's really important to take a practical and pragmatic approach to learning to tow a caravan. 

'The approach we believe to be most effective is readily accessible, free of charge driving and towing courses,' he told Daily Mail Australia. 

'As an industry we've delivered an extensive range of educational materials providing information, tips and guides on a range of topics including weight distribution and driving to the conditions.

'We've lobbied the federal government for quite some time to support this endeavour through subsidised towing courses, and being able to ensure that people are upskilled at their own pace and of their own volition.'

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