Sunday, April 4, 2010

Man alerts people about trailer-towing dangers

March 19, 2010

Man alerts people about trailer-towing dangers

Athens — Not long after he read the Athens Review account of an 88-year-old woman injured when a boat trailer came loose from its towing vehicle and slammed into a van, Ron Melancon was on the phone.

Melancon wants to alert anyone who will listen to the potential dangers of passenger cars pulling trailers. Now based in Glen Allen Virginia, the Houston native says trailers have killed 2,165 in the state since 1975.

“There’s so much attention paid to the Toyota recall when trailers have killed many more people,” Melancon said.

Sunday afternoon, Henrietta Milliken was a passenger in a Dodge Caravan traveling on State Highway 198 near Caney City. A trailer, hauling a boat, came loose from a pick-up, crossed into the opposite lane, and hit the Caravan head on. Milliken was flown to a Tyler hospital for treatment.

Melancon maintains the Dangerous website that lists accounts of trailer-related accidents that have resulted in deaths and injuries nationwide. The site is filled with newspaper accounts of the wrecks and many pictures of victims.

Some stories from Texas include the death of a 54-year-old man from Mesquite who was killed when struck by a trailer on North Central Expressway of Dallas. In that case, the truck pulling the trailer was driven by a 30-year-old Mabank man.

In another case two Texas A&M University-Commerce students were killed, and one injured when their SUV was hit by a trailer that came loose from a truck, and crossed the Interstate 30 median, east of Royse City.

Melancon wants Texas to toughen up its standard requirements for utility trailer hitches. He also says that trailers weighing less than 3,000 pounds have no construction or quality standards in the state.

“These trailers that come lose cause havoc, not to the driver of the trailer, but to the citizens of Texas,” Melancon said.

Trailers that come loose are not the only danger, Melancon said. Many trailers are on the road without reflective lights or they have lights that are not working.

Melancon wants to see the federal government set trailer standards that apply for all 50 states.

“If a truck starts in Texas, he should meet the same standards as in Virginia or another state,” Melancon said.

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