'Charlie's Law' would establish safety standards for pull trailers

Published: Aug. 13, 2013 at 9:41 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2013 at 9:41 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - There are 32 million trailers on the road today being pulled by passenger vehicles. Unfortunately every year, 400 people across the nation lose their lives because some of those trailers are not secured properly.

"Every year this time, I'm doing all the same things I was doing that day," said Leesa Meador. "So the memories come back real fresh."

Fresh memories stir old wounds for Leesa. Three years ago, her son Charlie left to finish his last year at the University of South Carolina, but he would never make it to campus.

"A car from the opposite direction was pulling a trailer and the trailer became detached, hit him head on," said Leesa.

"You're a sitting duck," said Ron Melancon, webmaster for DangerousTrailers.org, "it's a flying missile."

There are currently no laws in South Carolina establishing safety standards for passenger vehicle trailers.

"There is no inspections, there's no standards, there's no license plates, and there's no VIN numbers," said Melancon. "Over 80 percent of all trailers in this state has one or more safety violations."

The problem? Most people overestimate the security of their trailers connections.

"The chains are often too long, they're twisted in knots, they're wrapped around the tongue of the trailer," said Jim Milazzo, creator of the Safe Tow. "Anytime you see any defect in the chains, you should replace them."

So far, calls for legislation have been met with indifference by Palmetto State lawmakers, according to 'Charlie's Law' supporters.

"A good law prevents you from harming innocent people, and this is what these trailers are doing," said Melancon.

With the fight for change, the memory of a devoted son lives on and serves a greater purpose.

"We've got to care about what happens," said Leesa. "This can be so easily remedied."

According to the Department of Public Safety, since 2008, there have been 250 trailer collision accidents in South Carolina, 50 people have been injured, and two -- including Charlie -- have lost their lives.

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