Unless you were told that David J. Humphreys, the former president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), had ”retired” from the RV industry you’d never know it by listening to him.
Besides maintaining a Washington, D.C.-area law practice, Humphreys has become an advocate for trailer safety with the invention of the Peace of Mind Safety Link, a device that is intended to replace trailer safety chains. He’s also representing Ride-On tire sealant to RV manufacturers as a hedge against flat tires.
”With 10 kids and 19 grandkids and being an egomaniac, you don’t slow down,” said Humphreys who was instrumental in forming RVIA in the late 1970s, retiring from the organization in 2006.
The Peace of Mind Safety Link is a steel oval with support pieces that fits under a tow vehicle’s hitch ball. On the outside chance that a trailer would ever become unhitched, the safety link catches the coupler.
”My gadget is designed so that if the hitch comes off at whatever speed, nothing bad is going to happen,” Humphreys said.
Humphreys has made presentations to three major hitch companies. All have been receptive, he reported, but none has yet agreed to manufacture the device, which Humphreys estimates would retail for $25 to $50 and could be installed by the RV manufacturer or consumer.
”It’s fair to say it’s about the same cost as safety chains, but way more safer,” he told RVBusiness. “Safety chains are not designed to provide any protection over 30 miles per hour. Those little S-hooks will straighten out even if they are installed properly.”
”Humphreys, who has applied for a patent on the Peace of Mind Safety Link, said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that between 1999 and 2007 there were 3,672 accidents involving passenger vehicles with a trailer that resulted in 4,285 deaths and 153,088 crashes that caused injuries.
”Certainly not all of these accidents were caused by separation of the tow vehicle and trailer, but a careful review of the newspapers and TV accounts contained at www.dangeroustrailers.org would indicate that most of them were,” Humphreys notes in the presentation he makes to manufacturers.
Safe towing is also the goal of Ride-On from Inovex Industries Inc., Sterling, Va., a product that guards against flat tires that Humphreys has been promoting to towable manufacturers.
”If you have a blowout in a trailer, you’ve got a problem,” said Humphreys, who reported that 50% of the calls to roadside-assistance company Coach-Net involve flat tires.
Ride-On, which can be injected into an inflated tire through the stem, lines the interior of the tire with a protective layer. Besides protecting against flats, Humphreys said Ride-On “keeps the air in the tire from leaking and inflation up so there is better fuel economy.”
At a cost of about $10 a tire, Humphreys said Ride-On could become a standard travel trailer feature.
”There’s no reason to put up with a flat,” Humphreys maintained.