June 24, 2019 10:03 pm

What you need to know if you’re towing a trailer this summer

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A B.C. couple were forced to leave their recreational trailer behind in Arizona after they discovered they needed to upgrade their B.C. licence.

“We were sitting around our campfire and our friend Kenny said, ‘How did I make out taking that test for the new trailer?’ and I said, ‘Pardon? I don’t know what you are talking about,’” said snowbird Steve Turner.

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Turner and his partner Kathy Backman had just purchased a new fifth-wheel trailer and called ICBC from Arizona only to find out they needed a Code 7 house trailer endorsement.

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It’s an ICBC safety requirement for any fully-loaded recreational house trailer that weighs over 4,600 kilograms GVW (the combined weight of the trailer and its load).

If the driver does not have the correct driver’s licence or driver’s licence endorsement, drivers could be in breach of their insurance in the event of a crash, according to ICBC.

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“We were thankful that nothing did happen and that we made it there safely without any incidents of any kind, because had something happened we would not have had any liability insurance coverage,” said Backman.

The couple decided to store their trailer in Arizona and return home to B.C. to upgrade their licence.

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ICBC says to receive the correct endorsement drivers must pass a knowledge test, practice with a learner’s licence and pass a road test at ICBC.

ICBC also says it’s the responsibility of each individual to ensure they have the appropriate licence for the vehicle they’re driving and its use. Vehicle dealers are not required to provide advice on licensing requirements.

However, the B.C. couple says when they purchased their new trailer, the insurance representative should have notified them of the upgrade.

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“We sat with her and gave her our driver’s licence and she filled out the registration with the weight on it. She looked right at our driver’s licence and never said anything, and I feel that is when we should have been notified right there by the ICBC representative,” said Turner.

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Valley Driving School offers training to prepare drivers for the ICBC requirement.

“What you’re doing is you are pulling a vehicle down a public road. You’ve got to understand how it functions, and functions safely, so the people around you are not affected,” said Valley Driving School’s Jeremy Windblad.

ICBC also says anyone who rents a fifth-wheel or travel trailer which exceeds 4,600 kilograms when loaded will also be required to have an Code 7 endorsement.

If the driver holds an out-of-province driver’s license, at a minimum they’ll still need to hold a licence that is equivalent to BC’s endorsement 7.

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