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Thread: The law on towing.

  1. #1
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    Default The law on towing.

    Can I please have clarification on the law relating to towing a roadworthy and taxed vehicle which might be disabled because of an engine problem for instance. Towing with a) Tow rope.
    ..............................b) Rigid pole
    I assume towing on normal roads is permissable, including dual carriageways. What about motorways?
    Thanks.

  2. #2

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    You can tow any disabled vehicle, you can use a pole or a rope and you CAN tow on any road including Motorways. It must of course be taxed MOT'd and have an insurance policy in force.

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    Your clarification is appreciated. Now for a long distance tow!!!

  4. #4

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    Unless it's changed recently, a tow rope must be a minimum of 5 feet in length and not more than 15 feet. If more than 5 feet it's centre must be marked with some esily distinguishable marker, ( A piece of cloth or rag is usually tied at the centre). The marker is obviously to prevent people not seeing the rope and driving between you and the towed vehicle.

  5. #5

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    Well common sense applies, one could be guilty of an offence, but highly unlikely to get prosecuted. Any how why would anyone want to tow great distance on a rope, it would be very tireing.

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    Thanks for the rag marker tip.
    I was recently asked to assist a damsel in distress, broken down, fuel pump packed in and was subsequently informed by her boyfriend, a police dog handler that towing on a dual carriageway or motorway was illegal. I responded that on a dual carriageway, it certainly was not unless signed as a local regulation but I would check just incase there had been a recent change in traffic regs that I had missed so I am happy to have clarified and can go about my business with confidence.

    I have done two longish tows completely without incident and numerous shorter ones. A1M near Doncaster to Darlington and Darlington to near Edinburgh. About 9 feet separation, rear car to do all the braking, special care down hills and maximum anticipation, especially by the rear driver approaching junctions etc to maintain best smooth progress. The object is to keep it rolling and the tow rope tight at all times. Make sure the steering lock is off, there will be no power assistance for brakes or steering. Best to obey the speed limits and follow the car in front.

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    5ive-o member Tavia4x4's Avatar
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    Get a solid bar, I got one from Halfrauds for £20 and never looked back, it is *so* much easier than a rope, as the car in front can do some gentle braking, and there is no "snatch" when starting off.

    Only downside is that it rattles a bit, may want to get one with a short spring in that softens that.

  8. #8

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    Its amazing how many people think towing on a motorway or dual is not permitted. Shame on that dog handler, but then again you said it...he is a dog handler

    SIT

    Roll Over

    Beg

    Play dead

    Walkies

    and thats about really on that subject. (There vans smell as well, those dogs honk) At least our traffic cars smell sweet....KEBABS and Sweaty Burgers.

  9. #9

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    Well you've obviously done it before Harvey so you know it can be very stressful, particularly on the person in the towed vehicle - he can't afford to relax for one second. Good luck with it. That solid bar does sound like a good idea.

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    Just to up date this. I acquired a tow pole from Halfords. Well it was a birthday present last week actually.
    There are three parts with parts 1 and 3 identical. Basically a shackle attached to the end of a length of 24mm square hollow section. The other end has a couple of holes through it to take a locking pin.
    Centre section is slightly bigger section square hollow section and holes at either end.
    Sections 1 and 3 fit into section 2 for about 60mm and the appropriate holes line up to take a locking pin.
    Overall length when towing will be around 1660mm.
    Not used it yet. Cost under £20 and I am sure it will make towing that much easier.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by wazza
    Its amazing how many people think towing on a motorway or dual is not permitted. Shame on that dog handler, but then again you said it...he is a dog handler

    SIT

    Roll Over

    Beg

    Play dead

    Walkies

    and thats about really on that subject. (There vans smell as well, those dogs honk) At least our traffic cars smell sweet....KEBABS and Sweaty Burgers.
    You missed a couple of very important ones

    FETCH (the joyrider)

    DROP (the joyrider)

    GOOD BOY (for biting the joyrider on the @rse ! )

  12. #12
    5ive-o member Tavia4x4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvey
    Just to up date this. I acquired a tow pole from Halfords. Well it was a birthday present last week actually.
    There are three parts with parts 1 and 3 identical. Basically a shackle attached to the end of a length of 24mm square hollow section. The other end has a couple of holes through it to take a locking pin.
    Centre section is slightly bigger section square hollow section and holes at either end.
    Sections 1 and 3 fit into section 2 for about 60mm and the appropriate holes line up to take a locking pin.
    Overall length when towing will be around 1660mm.
    Not used it yet. Cost under £20 and I am sure it will make towing that much easier.
    Same one that I have... see if you can put some small rubber blocks on the flat end of the bar, as it does tend to rattle against that with movement.

    Great bit of kit though.

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    Thanks for the info Tavia. I have knocked something up using a bit of old quarry belt which should be ok. Having bought the thing I have had no need of it to date. With a bit of luck it will act as an insurance policy.

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    unofficial trucker 18wheeler's Avatar
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    see you do learn something new every day,i honestly thought it was illegal too tow on motorway with a rope,glad i saw this,also think i'll go and get 1 of those poles from halfords,didnt know they were so reasonable,thanks!

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    How about an untaxed but MoT'd vehicle? Is that then illegal to tow, and would need a trailer?
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    I would think Steve that with no tax the towed vehicle should not be on the road.
    It should also have a current SORN so if you were stopped and the matter were to be dealt with you would have a fine and all back excise duty to pay.

  17. #17

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    So if the vechile being towed had no tax is it just fine or is points added.....??

  18. #18

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    Having no tax disc is not endorseable (ie no points) whether the car is being driven or towed.

    What you do get is a fine and an order to pay all the tax owing.
    I post here as an individual not as a representative (official or unofficial) of any organisation
    For legal advice, consult a lawyer.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldcodger
    Having no tax disc is not endorseable (ie no points) whether the car is being driven or towed.

    What you do get is a fine and an order to pay all the tax owing.
    Ahh i see..so must be trailerd.

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    och dammit - I've just arranged to tow an untaxed and un-MOT'd from the seller's back to mine with one of those solid links ... so it looks like it'll have to actaully be trailered instead!

    I'm sure there are companies out there that offer a Pickup-and-Deliver service ...

  21. #21
    5ive-o member Tavia4x4's Avatar
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    So, hypothetically...

    If you are towing an untaxed vehicle, plod stops you and there is a fine and all the tax owed.

    Who is that fine charged to? Is it the driver of the car doing the towing? The "driver" of the car being towed? Or the owner of the vehicle being towed (if he\ she is none of the above?)

    Cheers.

  22. #22

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    The offence with tax is 'using' - this applies whether it's being driven, towed, or just standing on the road. In the circumstances you describe the steersman in a towed vehicle would get done for 'using' or if there was no steersman, the driver of the vehicle doing the towing (also for 'using').

    The owner doesn't get away with it though. Even if he' s at home reading the paper he gets done for 'permitting' the offence - providing of course that it can be shown he has knowledge of what's happening.

    If the owner is playing a more active role, perhaps a passenger in the vehicle doing the towing, then he stands to get done for 'aiding and abetting, couselling or procuring the commision of an offence'.

    This is an unfortunate situation for the proprietors of firms who run fleets of vehicles, as they can get done for permitting numerous offences by their drivers, from no tax to bald tyres. In the case of a limited company then it's the poor old company secretary who gets it.

  23. #23

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    Actually in my uniform days, a huge haulage firm was on my patch and I regularly had out of town requests from other forces to see the co. sec. and knock him off for permitting on their behalf for various transgressions by their drivers. When he saw me walking through the gates he used to feign suicide by pretending to be about to leap out of the window!

    Gent that he was though, he always got his secretary to make me a cuppa, and usually offered a nip of something stronger, which I would decline of course.

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    Found just such a company - £100 door to door on the back of a big flatbed ...

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    Is that a specific quote Knowledge or a flat charge?

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    Probabaly fairly specific, he wanted details of when, where from and where to ...

    That gets me a pickup from South London and a drop off at Great Yarmouth ...

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    A bit of a "holy thread resurrection" moment here… [I'm sure there's a smilie for this somewhere ]

    This morning, a colleague at work asked pretty much the same question as half way through this thread and I just wanted to clarify the situation: if you have an un-MoT'ed and/or un-taxed car, the only way to move it legally is trailer'ed in some form with the wheels off the road? In particular, would an A-frame style arrangement where all four (towed) car wheels were on the road be legal or illegal - I'm guessing from the posts above it would be illegal?

    As an aside, can anybody point me to the specific law regarding it being legal to tow [a road legal car] on a motorway with a rope? I have two friends who categorically believe that the only legal motorway tow is with a solid bar.
    Thanks.
    Clive

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    Quote Originally Posted by cochapman

    As an aside, can anybody point me to the specific law regarding it being legal to tow [a road legal car] on a motorway with a rope? I have two friends who categorically believe that the only legal motorway tow is with a solid bar.
    Thanks.
    Don't know the legislation, but we tow people at work with a tow rope (on the motorway) and I've seen the Police do it as well.

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    don't forget the ''on tow'' board, plus recovery vehicle's reg number....

    [apparently an awful lot of towing drivers out there who think it is 'right and proper' ie very safe.....to proceed down the road displaying their hazard warning lights...???]

    I have observed 3 large motorhomes towing their 'dinghies'...ie small car, on an A-frame.....but without the required signage?

    good drivers?

    oh yeah?
    No, I don't think all other drivers are idiots.................but some are determined to change my mind!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cochapman
    A bit of a "holy thread resurrection" moment here… [I'm sure there's a smilie for this somewhere ]
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