Laws about trailers

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Hillbilly, Mar 15, 2001.

  1. Hillbilly

    Hillbilly LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    Hi everyone,

    It is raining here so I have a little time to post be I do a little main.

    Last week I attended a seminar at Lesco, were the DOT
    had officers there to educate us on the regulations about pulling trailers. Here is just a few that I can rermember off the top of my head.

    1. A trailer must have a working brake for every wheel.

    2. A brake away switch must be in place.

    3. All lights and safety chains must be in working order.

    4. Commercial tags must be in place on the tow vehicle.

    5. If the combined GVWR of the truck and trailer exceeds
    10,001 pounds, semi trailer tags must be purchesed for
    the trailer.

    6. The operator of such a vehicle must have a health
    inspection card.

    7. All loades must be properly secured or tarped if you
    hauling lose material.

    This is all I can remember but trust me there is more. The officers stated that these are federal laws and apply to everyone who pulls a trailer to make a living. In my area, several landscapers have been stoped and fined for several thousnd dollars, so you may want to check into it yourself. Also, the officers stated not to put all your faith in the county clerks. They told us to contact the DOT
    and get the correct info.

    Hope this helps someone, because it kind of shocked me.
  2. Scraper

    Scraper LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,656

    Don't know about #1. Maybe for tandem trailers.

    Don't see too many trailers with brakes on them under 16'.
  3. gorrell

    gorrell LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 536

    As far as I'm aware of there are no federal laws governing trailers, it is a state by state thing. Here in Missouri you are not required to have brakes, only suggested(I've got 'em) and if you have a pin hitch instead of a ball hitch, the trailer doesn't even have to be licensed. Go figure! My advice, check your state licensing requirements. Thanks,Lynn
  4. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,700

    They may have told you that those are federal laws but that is a bunch of nonsense. Here in Maryland you need to get your trailer inspected before you get license plates. My 6X12 trailer does not have brakes, break-away switch or commercial tags on truck. The law varies from state to state. The best place to find out how each state stacks up is at the public library. Thre is a magazine called Trailer Boat and every year they outline all of the different laws for each state.
  5. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,912

    guess I learned something today's the link for State Laws law
    requires brakes on all wheels on trailers with a gross capacity of 3,000 lbs, any person requesting or accepting a trailer without proper brake set up assumes all responsibility for such action.

    [Edited by theleven on 03-15-2001 at 01:33 PM]
  6. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

    In Illinois, there isn't a commercial tag, no break away needed on smaller trailers, brakes on each axle not needed, just one. If brakes on both axles were needed, they wouldn't be able to sell them with brakes on one axle, right? I hope. :)

    I have a 24' enclosed trailer with brakes on both axles and I can stop it faster than I can stop just the truck without the trailer. I only have them on one axle on my open trailer, but I think I'm going to put them on both axles. It isn't that expensive and it makes a big difference in stopping. Break away setups are needed on bigger trailers here I'm pretty sure.
  7. LJ lawn

    LJ lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 356

    all that stuff they told you applies to tractor trailer ops.but then again,when i used to drive a tractor-trailer i was always warned about the d.o.t. in TENNESEE.those guys are quite fanatical down there.even worse than the Jersey d.o.t.
  8. lee b

    lee b LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,962

    DOT regulates truck or truck and trailer combo's that gross over 26001 lbs. or have air brakes. No air-brakes or gross under 26001 GVRW and DOT doesn't have jurisdiction accoding to CDL interstate regulations, as long as you are not transporting a reportable amount of hazardous materials. Most states follow national guidelines on these regulations, but your state may have passed new laws since I got my lisence. Every farm trailer in the country would have to have commercial {HIGH_PRICED} tags and every farmer would have to get CDL's if this were true.
  9. MikeGA

    MikeGA LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101

    Bet them rules apply for them big ol gooseneck trailers, not these little ol bumper trailers. Course I wouldn't a trailer much over 16ft that wasn't a gooseneck trailer. And I would want brakes on it, as for the chains and auto brakes, I haven't heard instances they would have done any good YET. Had a friend slam into the back of a Honda Accord with his '96 crew cab Chevy dully pulling an empty 24ft gose neck and his plate broke loose from the truck frame. Don't guess those chains and brake controller hooked to the same plate would have done much good would they??
  10. Sammy

    Sammy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,734

    theleven, those are for RV's.
    Commerical laws are differant.

    I just came from a DOT class like the one Hillbilly attended. There were a couple of guys that really got pissed about the laws that the state trooper was telling us about. He said that the federal goverment told all the states that in order to receive federal highway money that they had to adopt the federal guidlines. But, local goverments can pass their own laws. An example: Width of vehical is 8'6" on interstate, state and US highways. If local goverment does not want a truck any wider than 7'6" on its streets and roads you are SOL even though you meet federal and state law.

    Here in Michigan trailers that are below a certain GVW do not need brakes or break away switchs. Truck and trailer combos of 10,000 lbs. and lower only need a chauffer license. Trailer plates are just that, trailer plates for any size. Farmers do not fall under any of these laws unless they operate more than 150 miles from farm or carry haz. material.

    When the trooper was asked how a trailer could be sold without the brakes/switch he said it was up to the owner of the trailer to make sure that it was complint with their state law. No law against selling it. Just dont use it !!!

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