According to the Australian Design Rules, all trailers over 750kgs GTM (irrespective of the towing capacity or unladen mass of the tow vehicle) must have an effective brake system fitted.
All brakes must be operable from the driver’s seat of the tow vehicle except for over-ride brakes. The minimum braking system required for a trailer or caravan depends on its type and weight, as well as the weight of the tow vehicle:
- Up to 750kgs GTM: No brakes are required.
- 751-2,000kgs GTM: There must be a braking system on the wheels of at least one axle and over-ride brakes are permitted.
- Over 2,000kgs GTM: A brake system operating on all wheels is required. The system must be capable of automatically activating should the trailer become detached from the tow vehicle. Under these circumstances the brakes must remain applied for at least 15 minutes. These ‘break-away’ systems are compulsory on all trailers over 2,000kgs GTM.
- The cable which attaches the break away system of the trailer to the tow vehicle must be connected/attached to a substantial portion of the tow vehicle.
- In some states there may be additional requirements that require an indicator light or audible signal showing the battery on board the caravan is sufficiently charged to enable the battery to satisfactorily activate the brakes, via the break-away system, on all wheels should the trailer detach from the tow vehicle. This indicator light must be visible or heard from the driver’s seated position and must operate only while the ignition is in the “engine on” position or whilst the engine is running. Contact your State or Territory roads and traffic authority regarding the requirement of a visible or audible indicator with your ‘breakaway’ system.