September '14

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102 • RV PRO • SEPTEMBER 2014 rv-pro.com pressure are serious safety issues," notes Cannon, executive director of the RV Safety and Education Foundation (RVSEF), the nonprofit successor to A Weigh We Go. RV Industry Initially Unsure About RVSEF Originally, AWWG was viewed skepti- cally by the RV industry, Cannon acknowl- edges. After all, pointing out potentially major safety issues doesn't tend to win many friends. Still, some in the industry saw the value of what AWWG was trying to do. One of the organization's earliest champions was Doug Jones, customer engineering sup- port manager for Michelin Tires. Jones and Anderson met at an early rally in Blacksburg, Va., where they were both weighing RVs. At the time, Michelin was studying why the company's tires were not holding up on motorhomes. e tire maker dealt with warranty issues from overloaded units and under-inflated tires daily. Combining forces, the two men helped AWWG create one of the first safety programs specific to the issue. "I saw the value right away that AWWG and the information that we had gathered could bring to the industry," Jones says. Instead of two separate pro- grams, Jones thought there was some- thing Michelin could do to help sup- port AWWG and a long-lasting working relationship was formed that has carried over to RVSEF. Other industry officials were initially more guarded about AWWG and its mis- sion. Bruce Hopkins, vice president of stan- dards and operations for the RV Industry Association, remembers when the group first came on the scene. "In the beginning, there was some push- back. We didn't know who they (AWWG) were or where they were coming from," he says. "At first, they were weighing units on the road. Manufacturers couldn't tell if there was a real design problem or customers were just overloading them. We told them they needed to gather data before the units were loaded. And that's what they did." Ho p k i n s d e s c r i b e s C a n n o n a n d Anderson as a "breath of fresh air." "They weren't rude or just trying to stir up trouble; they were respectful," he says now. "ey enjoyed RVing and only wanted to make the experience safer and more enjoyable for everyone." Cannon says his organization was never out to condemn anyone or cause bad press; it just wanted RVers to get the most enjoyment out of their unit as possible, as safely as possible, and with the least amount of problems. "I'm industry friendly," he says. "We don't always agree, but we respect each other. If I find a problem, it isn't to com- plain; it's to find a solution." To get to that solution, RVSEF went beyond simply weighing RVs. Its leaders studied how RVs were built and how the consumer actually used the product. With that knowledge, the organization was able to educate both the RV manufacturer and the RVer on the importance of proper weight, balance and tire pressure, and the role it plays on RV safety. "In many cases the cargo-carrying capacity of a unit cannot be fully utilized because the best places to safely load and balance the cargo aren't accessible," Cannon says. "e con- sumer needs to be aware of this. Educating them on this is a part of what we do." As RVIA warmed to RVSEF's mission, Cannon has a motorhome owner put one of his tires on one of RVSEF's mobile scales so the RV can be weighed. RVSEF serves as a one-source clearinghouse for RVers on proper weights and tire pressure levels.

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