The investigation has revealed that, while Australian Standard-rated shackles are not legally required, their use is recommended.
In consultation with Victoria Police, VicRoads and the Victorian state government, the CIAV has confirmed that there is no specific regulation for shackles for towing.
The issue reached boiling point several years ago, when some people claimed a new ‘mystery’ regulation had come into effect, requiring caravanners to use legally-rated shackles to tow their vans. The issue has continued to create confusion, due to a lack of clarity and, in part, to differing advice given out by state authorities.
While there is an Australian Standard relating to shackles (AS 2741-2002), it only relates to the use of shackles for lifting purposes, such as lifting an engine into a car bay, not for towing.
“Our understanding is that there is currently no regulation requiring shackles used on trailer safety chains to comply with the Australian Standard,” the CIAV reported.
However, both the CIAV and VicRoads do recommended that vanners use shackles which comply with the Australian Standard.
In its new ‘Light Trailer Safety Chain Shackles’ guide, VicRoads confirms that using rated shackles is not mandatory. They do, however, recommend that vanners choose a shackle to suit their trailer and vehicle.
‘Suitable’ shackles, according to VicRoads, includes shackles supplied as original equipment by a vehicle manufacturer, shackles supplied by an original equipment tow bar manufacturer, or shackles that are rated and compliant with AS 2741-2002 and with a break load limit/rating at least 1.5 times greater than your caravan’s ATM.
Based on its research, the CIAV recommends vanners use shackles which meet AS 2741-2002, have a steel grade of ‘S’ or ‘6’, have a working load limit of 1000kg, and have a steel diameter of at least 10mm.