A. that is false. i.e. http://actiondonation.org/state-by-state-rv-and-towing-law/
and also on the liability end if you have exceeded hitch capacity for example, or under the umbrella of not securing a load.
It's true that I should not have said that there is no regulation of towing equipment, as there are regulations calling the use of specific equipment - safety chains and brakes. How that equipment is designed and constructed is a free-for-all. The well-known standards (the old VESC V-5
and current SAE J684
) are not regulations.
There are laws about the equipment on the trailer, and the weight of the trailer relative to the tow vehicle; however, they have nothing to do with the rated capacity of the tow vehicle
. V-5 and J684 say nothing about the vehicle itself or even how a hitch is attached to the vehicle. If you want to tow a ten-ton trailer with your Geo Metro - using of course a hitch rated for the trailer load but attached with only a few sheet metal screws - you can legally go for it... as long as the tongue weight is kept low so the Metro isn't over GVWR or rear GAWR.
To be fair, some jurisdictions which have requirements that the tow vehicle and trailer rig be able to stop within some (generously long) prescribed distance from some (laughably slow) speed... but trailer brakes alone make that easy to achieve.
In more practical and relevant terms...
A Leaf can probably safely tow a trailer weighing a ton or two, if the trailer is equipped with suitably controlled brakes. As far as I can see, it can legally do that in any state or province, despite the zero towing rating by Nissan. Reliability of the Leaf is another matter, and not the subject of legislation. At the same time, a Smart ForTwo which absolutely cannot handle two tons of trailer (and is also has a zero rating) is equally legal.
If an inadequate rig fails, and causes property damage or injury to a third party, the most likely legal consequence is a civil lawsuit... not a violation of a regulation. Even if all the parts and practices involved as within ratings and meet standards, a civil action can find the operator at fault - there's not much reason here, just legal precedent and public opinion. In any case, if the rig doesn't crash, the towing stupidity is allowed without restriction.
As I understand European regulations, the existence on the road of a trailer attached to a vehicle by a hitch without type approval (specific to the vehicle) is a violation, no matter how appropriate the rig or well-constructed the hitch. I actually don't see a problem with this, as the well-constructed rigs which are prevented from operating by this bureaucracy must be much less common than the unsafe piles of crap allowed by our rules here.