University trailer guidelines take effect Jan. 1

On the heels of a fall trailer inventory audit, transportation services is implementing trailer procedures, effective Jan. 1, 2019. The aim is improved driver safety and consistent use of trailers across the university, said transportation services director Kathy Wellik.

A key change is that departments will need to pay for an annual inspection by a certified state Department of Transportation inspector for any trailer used on public roads. Wellik said departments have all of 2019 to complete a first inspection on each trailer in its inventory. Her staff can provide a list of approved inspectors. The guidelines also specify who can perform maintenance or service work on university trailers.

Other changes are intended to boost safety for student organizations, which no longer will be allowed to own trailers. Rather, their trailers must be sponsored by a university department. The trailers student organizations use can't be longer than 20 feet or have a weight rating (when fully loaded) of more than 10,000 pounds. The age requirement to drive a university vehicle towing a trailer remains unchanged: 20 years.

Departments or other units that need to purchase a trailer should contact Wellik's office. "Depending on the size and cost of what they need, we can guide them on how to proceed," she said.

Wellik said there are about 280 trailers in the university inventory, everything from horse trailers to canoe trailers, flat beds to tree chippers. Transportation services will keep track of the title, registration and license plates for all trailers.

She noted that exceptions to the guidelines are possible. Written requests should be submitted and require approval from the assistant vice president for business services (Wellik's supervisor). Questions may be directed to Wellik, 294-1657.