Safe towing: safety standards for shackles

25 June 2013

The Australian design rules and safety standards specify requirements for the strength and markings of safety chains that connect a trailer to a towing vehicle.

However they do not specify the requirements for the shackles that connect the chains to the tow vehicle.

However, it is recommended they have a rating equal or higher to that of the chain they are fitted to.

If two safety chains are fitted, each must have a rated capacity equal or greater than the trailers ATM (aggregate trailer mass).

If the trailer is fitted with shackles that are not suitable for the mass of the trailer then it could be argued that these requirements are not being met.

Currently a fine of $121.00 is applicable.

In addition, under the Australian Road Rules the driver of a vehicle is responsible to:
- control the movement of the trailer and
- ensure that it is safe to tow the trailer

The requirements for trailers can be downloaded at the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Transport site

boat trailer stretch