In 1971 J. Standard Baker Quoted " Drivers Towing Trailers  Are Four (4) Times As Unsafe As Those In Cars Alone! 

Mack Tool / Rick Quinn:


I know I moved.  At times I wish I had not but ....

My regularly ranting advocate acquaintance, Ron Melancon, is upset at "Charlie's Law" authorizes only a $500 fine trying to prevent more deaths like that of Charlie Meador - the USC Student killed after a trailer became unattached, crossed the median north of Charleston wiping out the youth's vehicle.  (As I recall, a similar circumstance in the same general area wiped out a UPS truck tractor driver - ugh)

I read the House bill.  I believe you really seriously need to review the language for a few things like:  

a) I was unable to locate a definition of "utility trailer" in SECTION 56-5-110 of the master statute  (most reading I have done makes reference to 'light duty trailers' rather than utility trailers.  Would trailers used for hauling boats, riding horses or other livestock be called "utility trailer" or what?

b) the new 56-5-5150.    (A) refers to a "hinch pin".  My understanding is those connecting safety pins are called lynch pins.

c) You might wish to ask your lawyers just how they believe the section (B) can pass muster in a judicial review.  Whose word is law?  Is this section of law restricted to after serious crashes simply to throw fault for insurance company lawyers?  How is a police officer - or even a weighmaster - expected to evaluate and determine compliance?  Is it the word of the motorist against the word of an officer?

d) the exception for farming vehicles lets them off Scot free .. meaning when you drive to Myrtle Beach with your family but heaven forbid run into a dark trailer - no lights - no reflective tape which has slipped away from a truck YOU get to suck it up, smile, pay the doctor.  SAFETY is for all - even farmers (who I believe have a higher accidental death rate than almost any other occupation).  Those who cause death by dumbness force laws to be written legislating against stupidity. 

sorry .. on a tangent

e) Do you have ANY idea what "that utilize a chain that is adequate for the weight capacity of the trailer" means?  Pulling a trailer by a chain.. one chain?  We only do that in emergency circumstances ... and Very slowly & carefully to get a dead vehicle to a place out of the weather where there are tools for an operation.

Sorry to bother.  The matters of "Charlie's Law" are serious and urgent to the point silly stuff like hinchpins really needs taken care of.

Tim H.

Ron J. Melancon


' Charlie's Law' would establish safety standards...

'Charlie's Law' would establish safety standards for pull ... A proposal in South Carolinawould add death by firing squad to the state's list of approved execution .



Amend Title To Conform

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION    1.    This act may be cited as "Charlie's Law".

SECTION    2.    Section 56-5-5150 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:

"Section 56-5-5150.    (A)    As used in this section, a 'vehicle' includes, but is not limited to a utility trailer. When a vehicle is towing another vehicle on a public road or highway, the towing vehicle must be attached to the towed vehicle by a two safety chain, chains or cable devices, or equivalent device in addition to the regular drawbar, tongue, trailer hitch, or other connection trailer coupler with trailer ball and hinch pin.

(B)    The safety connections or attachments must be of sufficient strength to maintain connection of the towed vehicle to the pulling vehicle under all conditions while the towed vehicle is being pulled by the towing vehicle.  who decides 'sufficient'?

(C)    The provisions of this section do not apply to vehicles using a hitch known as a fifth wheel and kingpin assembly. No part of this section shall conflict with the requirements of a vehicle subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

(D)    A violation of this section is subject to a penalty not to exceed five hundred dollars or thirty days imprisonment.

(E)    The provisions of this section do not apply to vehicles or utility trailers:

(1)    used for farming purposes; or

(2)    that utilize a chain that is adequate for the weight capacity of the trailer." HUH?

SECTION    3.    This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.


This web page was last updated on May 5, 2015 at 12:53 PM

Once again Farmers keep preventing Common Sense safety legislation. 

Would farmers use a homemade baby seat and not have it secured in their own vehicle???? Then why are they towing a trailer homemade and without safety chains? In South Carolinia 

Right from the Political Leaders mouth
Pure idiot he just exposed who is against SAFETY chains not being used in South Carolina
Last updated: May 11. 2015 9:26PM - 154 Views 

Richie Yow Legislative Update

H. 3203 — A bill to amend the code of laws by adding Section 56-5-245 so as to define the term “utility trailer” and to provide for the equipment that must be used to attach a towing vehicle to a utility trailer.

The debate on this bill was heated. I, along with Rep. Hardee, introduced an amendment to exempt agriculture equipment. During the debate in which I was speaking in favor of our amendment, Rep. Rutherford took to the microphone against the amendment. I went on to say that agriculture is the largest business in South Carolina and the bill, as it was before the amendment, was just another way to regulate farmers out of business.

After a very heated debate, my amendment to protect our farmers passed by a vote of 61-32 and was added to the bill, which was then recommitted to the Agriculture Committee for further study.


Mr Editor;
   An internet pen pal on a mission, Ron Melancon of, forwarded a message by S.C. Rep. Richie Low to his constituents proclaiming the virtues of his vote to allow farmer use of S.C. roadways without regard to safety.  Farmers seem authorized to dump their trailers onto oncoming tourist traffic with impunity!  

    On August 13, 2010 returning to USC, Charlie Meador was killed by a utility trailer that detached, became a unguided missile crossed the median taking out Charlies car.  Several safety violations were observed including a lack of safety chains.  Charlie's family has attempted to work with the General Assembly to pass legislation requiring safety equipment on small trailers weighing less than 2,500 pounds.  
What do they get for all the families efforts?  HB 3203 to amend Section 56-5-5150 entitled "Charlie's Law" that doesn't even provide the definition of a "utility trailer", calls the safety lynch pins "hinch pins", mandates safety chains/cables "must be of sufficient strength to maintain connection of the towed vehicle to the pulling vehicle under all conditions" without the faintest thought of how "sufficient strength" can be defined or an officer able to interpret and enforce.  

And then Rep Yow's 'free pass' (E) the provisions of this section do not apply to vehicles or utility trailers: a) used for farming purposes; or (2) that utilize a chain that is adequate for the weight capacity of the trailer.

    Tell me Mr. Representative, may I pull a trailer down the road by one large chain letting it look for another Charlie Meador to kill?

    Are there no insurance company lawyers in the Assembly wanting to reduce their claims by simple things like requiring appropriate safety chains, coupling devices that hold on, lights and reflective tape? 
How many lawyers does it take to write a simple bill?
    For Pete's sake read the stuff you vote on.
Very sincerely;
Tim Houghtaling
formerly of Lexington now perspiring in north Florida
105 Riverside Way
San Mateo, FL 32187
803 359 7362
how about a gander at this Master Lock Company review?

The Lawmakers Of South Carolinia Think That Lives Lost By Loose Trailers Is Not Worth Their "Time.  So House Member Richie Yow Believes Farmers Have The Right To Tow Unsafe Trailers And Ordinary Citizens On Public Roads And Destroy Families And Anybody..... We Beg To Differ.