Editorial: Death is a warning about towing trailer
The death of 19-year-old college student Whitney Radder on U.S. 41 last month should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone who has ever pulled or plans to pull a trailer.
What killed Radder was a trailer that unhinged from a pickup and crashed into her car. The truck driver was cited for towing with improper safety chains and having couplings, or hitches, that failed to meet standards. The latter is a common citation in more than 50 percent of accidents of this sort, which are more common than you might think.
Between 1975 and 2008, Wisconsin reported 377 deaths and more than 11,000 injuries associated with passenger cars towing trailers.
Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, wants to draft a bill that would call for tighter trailer regulations. While well-intentioned, it's unlikely that tighter regulations or higher fines would make a difference in the habits of drivers.
Education is the key here, even for people who have pulled trailers for years.
How many of us who haul a trailer have received any kind of training on the safe and proper way to hook them on? Obviously, no one wants a trailer to come loose, but no one thinks it can happen to him.
Wisconsin doesn't require training for hauling basic trailers, but common sense says that drivers need to know what they're doing.
Anyone who has a trailer needs to take the time to ensure that everything is in proper working order — from couplings to taillights — and that the trailer is adequately and securely attached to the vehicle.
Such precautions, which can be easily overlooked, may save a life.