I was out last night off to a party and got stuck behind the local rotary santa sleigh doing the rounds for charity and it got me thinking.. I wonder if its legal to tow a trailer with santa sitting in it? I wonder if the driver's insurance covers him for towing a trailer with a passenger? There were no seat belts fitted. so I did a bit of research:
Under the Road Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regulations 1986, as amended, there are potential offences relating to carriage of passengers. Regulations 90 (1) states ‘no person shall use or cause or permit to be used on a road any trailer for the carriage of persons for hire or reward’.
Clearly the purpose of carrying santa in his sleigh on the back of the trailer is to encourage donations to the worthy cause being collected. So he is being carried for hire or reward?
Under Regulations 100 (1) which states ‘a motor vehicle, every trailer drawn – hereby …the number of passengers carried by such a vehicle or trailer, the manner in which any passenger is carried in or on such vehicles or trailer… shall at all times be such, that no danger is caused or is likely to be caused to any person in or on the vehicle or trailer or on a road’.
Regulation 46 Carrying a passenger on a trailer not constructed or designed to carry passengers and not having seat belt or seat belt anchoring points is possibly an offence, though it doesn't say much on trailers.
Under these regulations, whether or not an offence is committed is open to question.
If accidents (resulting in injuries or death) happened here the drivers, organisers etc could be charged under the ‘Wanton & Furious Driving Act 1861. Yes its a stretch, but at least it was written at a time when people were carried in coaches built like santa's sleigh.
So far a few open to interpretation, but here the one that will get santa...
A trailer which does carry passengers must comply with Regulation 15 of “The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (C&U) (if manufactured after 1 April 1983)
Regulation 15 of C&U brings in EC directive 98/12 paragraph 18.104.22.168: On every trailer which is required to be fitted with a service braking system, parking braking shall be ensured even when the trailer is separated from the towing vehicle. It shall be possible for a person standing on the ground to actuate the parking braking system; however, in the case of a trailer used for the carriage of passengers, it shall be possible to actuate this braking system from inside the trailer. The expression ‘actuate` also covers the action of releasing
In short, if the trailer is not agricultural and is used to carry passengers then it must have a parking brake which can be operated from inside the trailer.
Unlikely that santa's sleigh has a parking brake and probably doesn't have a trailer brake given the size of the trailer.
Santa (or more likely the driver - Rudolf) - Criminals on the run
bah humbug christmas is cancelled