Horse Trailer Association Focuses on Safety

NATM History
The National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) is the trade association for manufacturers of trailers less than 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), and suppliers of products and services to the trailer industry.

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In 1987 a small coalition of horse and livestock trailer manufacturers formed the National Association of Livestock Trailer Manufacturers (NALTM) in Oklahoma City with the original purpose to aid in obtaining product liability insurance, a challenge for many manufacturers. That purpose has evolved and the NATM’s primary purpose now is to confirm the safety standards of the trailer industry.

In 1990 NALTM was formally incorporated in Austin, Texas. In 1992, “livestock” was dropped from its name as the association needed to represent a broader constituency.

In 1998, the board of directors moved its headquarters to Topeka, Kansas. After only a few months, it became apparent that NATM needed to augment its staff, so it hired an executive director. Membership grew from 156 companies in 1997, to 570 by the end of 2002. With this growth, the board increased the NATM staff to four full-time employees and a part-time receptionist.

Compliance Decals and Safety Labels
In May 2002, the NATM released its distinctive red, white and blue compliance decal. The purpose of the designation is to provide some level of assurance that trailers carrying the NATM Compliance Decal adhere to NATM safety standards. Available only to NATM members, the decal recognizes members who have met the standards of the NATM compliance program, which is designed to evaluate members who voluntarily undergo an NATM inspection. Of particular concern are the safety related items and the regulations that govern them. While this program is strictly voluntary, the number of NATM members who undergo the inspection process continues to increase.

NATM funded the creation of standardized warning labels for trailers. These patented labels have been tested according to American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards and are available only through licensed NATM-members. Interstate Insurance Services is also endorsed by NATM and provides product liability insurance, specializing in placement of insurance contracts that provide manufacturers the best protection available.

The NATM Mission

  • Unify the trailer manufacturing industry through involvement and participation of its members
  • Improve the safety performance of trailers by promoting NATM manufacturing guidelines
  • Promote and continually enhance the trailer industry’s image
  • Provide quality educational events
  • Provide expanding membership benefits and services. NATM has two categories of membership: regular members, which are trailer manufacturers; and associate members, which are companies that provide products and services to the trailer manufacturing industry.

NATM Members Keep Current on Regulations
Members receive Guidelines for Recommended Minimum Manufacturing Practices for Trailers under 26,000 Pounds (GVWR), a compilation of federal rules governing trailer construction. Members also receive Tracts, the association’s newsletter containing articles and member news. Another association member benefit is the annual Membership Directory & Buyer’s Guide, which lists member companies by name and by product or service.

Mission Statement
In February of 2002, the board of directors adopted the official vision for NATM:

“NATM strives to be ‘the premier’ association for all manufacturers of trailers under 26,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight rating. The primary purpose of NATM is to confirm the safety standards of the trailer industry. NATM will be the organization that provides guidance, education, overall knowledge and statistics for the industry. The association is organized to promote, both to the industry and to the public, a universal recognition of safety and quality in the trailer manufacturing industry.”

The NATM board consists of 12 members, who establish the programs and policies that direct the association. It focuses on the vision and mission statements in implementing all programs. Building membership is a top priority and the NATM’s ultimate goal is to promote safety in trailer manufacturing.

To inquire about membership, contact NATM by email at [email protected] or by phone at (785) 272-4433.

Information provided by NATM.

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