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Towing Laws & Tags

Towing Laws & Tags

Just felt like writing a little blog today on State Laws regarding Towing Laws and Tags. This past week, I came across know it all kid that felt he didn’t need to have his cargo trailer tagged. According to Alabama State Law 40-12-252 as well as all other states in the USA, all Cargo Trailers and any other type Pull Behind Trailer including but not limited to Utility Trailers are required to be to have a vehicle tag when driving any pulled trailer behind a vehicle.

Example: Alabama law requires an annual registration tax for utility trailers operated on public highways. The fee is $12 for personal trailers and $15 for commercial trailers as of 2010.

This person also didn’t understand the importance of having state required Running Lights nor the importance of Proper Maintenance Scheduling on their Trailer nor the vital importance of Emergency Equipment i.e. Trailer Jacks, Tire Chucks, Tongue Locks, Proper Receiver for your Trailer, etc. My first thought was: How do you own a trailer and you do not own a trailer receiver and you also do not have a hitch on your own truck???? This is a whole discussion for another time itself…. First let’s discuss State Laws! Here is a great link that shows laws per state where applicable. Please understand while you may be legal in one state when you cross into another state you could be 100% illegal. Example: While it may be OK to tow a RV and Jeep in one state it may be illegal to do so in another state. Keep in mind, basic things like running lights and brakes lights are mandatory are required in all USA states. Failure to have these at any time can result in tickets and fines. How serious can this? Let’s See. I just spoke to a law enforcement friends who stated that if you travel without running light at night time you are subject to a ticket in each jurisdiction you enter. So, this applies to each and every city and county you drive thru as well as each state. So, let’s think about the big picture here. Let’s put this into context why don’t we: Let’s say you live in Birmingham, Alabama and you go to Atlanta, GA for example….. That’s a 264 mile trip taking you have to go thru 13 Counties to get to Birmingham and probably 40-60 small towns that each one legally could write you a ticket for no running lights as well as no vehicle tag. Now, is that likely to happen probably no, but legally it could and are you willing to take that risk???? Plus, if you are not running a tag, that’s another ticket per stop and if they find anything else in the vehicle that could be another ticket or jail time. Now, that all depends on the officer at that time in that jurisdiction and how nice they are. How lucky do you feel?

State Laws regarding Towing Laws: Max Speed, Length, Width, Height, Max Weight, Etc.

Before you tow, you need to know!

It's Not Only Where You Live, It's Also Where You are Going.

Click On This Link Select the States/Provences that you are traveling through to find the minimum towing weight requirement. If what you are towing exceeds the weight, an auxiliary braking system is required.

Recommended Trailer Maintenance Schedule Tires: - Rotate @ 5,000 miles, Inspect tread and sidewalls thoroughly. Replace tires when treads are worn or sidewall is worn or has a bulge

Structure: Roof Vents / Windows - Clean dirt buildup, lubricate hinges and slides

Inspect and Service every 12 months or 12,000 miles

Brakes, all types:

Shoes and Drums - Check for scoring and wear. Replace per manufacture's specifications.


Frame - Inspect all frame members, bolts, & rivets. Repair or replace damaged, worn, or broken parts.

Welds - Inspect all welds. Repair cracked or broken welds as needed.

Slide-outs - Clean dirt buildup. Lubricate slides, shafts, and gears

Axles and axle attachment bolts - Have DEALER check axles and axle attachment bolts.


Sealed Bearing - Check and confirm free running. Replace if needed. (Sealed bearings are not serviceable)

Unsealed Bearings - Disassemble, clean, inspect bearings and races, repack bearings and reassemble. Replace promptly if immersed in water.

Rims - Inspect for cracks and dents, Replace as needed.

I hope this article helps and you are a little more educated and you take this more serious than the person in this article. Being Prepared Is Key when traveling and while you may have roadside assistance, what are you going to do if you are in rural area and you cannot get a cell signal?

Are you prepared?

Do you have a Get Home Bag / Go Bag?

Are you prepared to stay out in the elements over night until rescue comes?

I guarantee you this person featured in this article is not.

Don’t be this person and be prepared!!!

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