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Do I need a permit to drive with a trailer?

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2023 | Car Crashes

Whether you plan to camp or transport livestock, you might need to use a trailer. However, this equipment could become a collision risk if it does not meet standards imposed by state law.

Certain trailers require permits, but only if they go beyond limits set by state law. Fortunately, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation provides guidelines and rules regarding trailer use. These regulations include the following:

  • Trailers weighing over 3,000 pounds require an ID number from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Agriculture bailer setups must meet length and vehicle requirements to operate legally.
  • Three-vehicle trailer setups must have a permit if they exceed or fail to meet requirements for the towing vehicle, trailer length and weight.
  • Trailers must have lights varying based on the driving conditions.
  • Trailer brakes are necessary for those that exceed the 3,000-pound limit.
  • A trailer must have side mirrors if the driver cannot view 200 feet of the road from the vehicle’s rear.

Additionally, the law has provisions regarding the type of cargo carried inside the trailer and if they stick out from the back.

What happens if I violate these rules?

Noncompliance with trailer regulations could lead to driving in high-risk conditions. If the weight and length of the vehicle train do not meet safety standards, it could potentially lead to a crash.

Even if a crash does not happen, a driver can still receive penalties if caught by the authorities. These offenses could result in fines based on how severe the violations were.

Certain trailers for industrial purposes tend to be heavier, making them more significant crash risks. Authorities might tackle these situations from case to case, considering other factors such as the towing equipment used, items in cargo and the vehicle operator’s qualifications.