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Caravan and Trailer Breakaway Kit

by | Mar 30, 2016 | ADRs & Regulations, Industry News | 0 comments

Caravan trailer breakaway kits legal requirements are same for all States and Territories except for NSW.

Important check: Have you checked the length of the lanyard is not so long that it failed to pull the pin with fully stretched chains?

News: Lanyard Breakaway Switch Safety Alert

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N.S.W. Vehicle Standards Information

No. 22 for Vehicle Owners Operators in New South Wales Issued April 1998

Electric Brakes fitted to Large Trailers.

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It is permissible to use the caravan battery as a breakaway battery provided you can see the battery condition from the bash board.

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All trailers with a total weight over 750kg require brakes.

Trailers and Caravans with a GTM of up to 2,000kg the braking system can be either an overrun braking system or one that has electric brakes operated from the driver’s seat.

All trailers must have the brakes applied from the driver’s seat. (relaxed in some states and territories.)

Overrun brakes are not acceptable on trailers over 2,000kg.

Further, the braking system must be such that if the trailer accidentally breaks away (from the towing vehicle), the trailer brakes will apply automatically and remain on for at least 15 minutes.

The brakes must operate on ALL WHEELS (exceptions are trailers that are not over 2 tonnes Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) and trailers manufactured before ADR38-04/–. Their service brakes must operate on all wheels on at least one axle).

Installation of the Caravan Trailer Breakaway System

Trailer and caravans equipped with electric brakes, it is necessary to have the following equipment:

  1. A breakaway switch fitted to a caravan or trailer, and its point of attachment is compatible with the towing vehicle.
  2. A battery either on the trailer or within the caravan that is of sufficient capacity to maintain full braking for at least 15 minutes.
  3. The towing vehicle provided with an electrical circuit which will automatically keep the trailer battery in a fully charged.  Also, it is capable of warning the driver if the status of the trailer battery is flat.
  4. One grounded wire to each brake unit) and not via the trailer suspension components, wheel bearings or tow couplings.
  5. Furthermore, a visible label must be attached to the caravan.
  6. Finally, the breakaway lanyard must be adjusted, disabling the pin when the chains are at full stretch, while connected to the tow vehicle.


If the towing vehicle is subject to Australian Design Rule 31/– “Hydraulic Brake Systems for Passenger Cars” or Australian Design Rule 35/– “Commercial Vehicle Brake Systems” it is critical to ensure that the fitment of any control unit will not alter the towing vehicles’ braking system for the electric brakes.

Issued by Vehicle Standards, Driver and Vehicle Policy Branch, Roads Traffic Authority of New South Wales    (2 pages)
Cat. No. 45070602


Before a trailer can be registered, a van equipped with electric brakes must, when presented for inspection and connected to a towing vehicle equipped as specified on page 1.


  1. Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM. The total mass of the full trailer when carrying the maximum load recommended by the manufacturer. ATM includes any weight imposed on the drawing vehicle when the combination vehicle is resting on a horizontal supporting plane.
  2. Gross Trailer Mass (GTM). Weight transmitted to the ground by the axle or axles of the trailer when coupled to a drawing vehicle. In addition to carrying its maximum load of approximately uniformly distributed over the load-bearing area. ATM = A + B + C GTM = A + B

Caravan Trailer Breakaway Kits legal requirements


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