Important Note about Towing Business Trailers in Pennsylvania

By: David E. Hershey, Traffic Ticket Violations Lawyer

“Tow” the Line!

Did you know that the moment you tow a business trailer behind your vehicle (such as a flatbed trailer for landscaping equipment), you are subject to additional legal requirements under both federal and state laws?

Even if the combined weight of your vehicle and trailer is under 26,000 pounds (but is at least 10,000 pounds) and even if you are only operating within the state of Pennsylvania, you must:

• Have medical cards for your drivers.

• Display U.S. Department of Transportation numbers on your vehicles.

• Fulfill all State and Federal logbook requirements.

If your vehicle is stopped for any reason and the officer determines you are in violation of these traffic requirements, your work or delivery could be stopped in its tracks. In addition, fines range from $500 and up per violation, which means you could possibly face more than $1,500 in fines if you are not in compliance with these rules.

Business owners often assume that because Penn DOT defines commercial vehicles as a combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, they are not subject to many of the state’s commercial vehicle regulations. But the important distinction here is that if you are towing vehicles as part of a business enterprise, you are subject to these additional requirements.

The Penn DOT website (www.dmv.state.pa.us) has links to the necessary state and federal forms and can answer many questions. We recommend, however, that if you currently tow (or plan to tow) any kind of trailer as part of your business you consult with us to ensure you are in compliance with all federal, state and local laws. We can also help assess if your existing insurance coverage will adequately protect your business if your business vehicle is involved in an accident.

If you have received a ticket for a towing violation, whether it is your first ticket or not, contact me right away at (717) 502-5000 to make sure your rights are protected. As a Harrisburg and York traffic ticket attorney I handle cases all across Pennsylvania and I’m happy to help!

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