Towing Laws

It's not only where you live, it's also where you are going.

Click on the states 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.

Move your mouse over the map to find out minimum requirements for each state.
Summary 

States with special requirements

 
Kentucky
Kentucky law does not specifically require brakes on any passenger car trailers, regardless of weight. However, vehicles singular or in combination must be able to stop within distance specified by statute.
Oregon
Combination of vehicles must be able to stop within legal limits.
Wyoming, Utah & Kansas
Requires any vehicle combination to stop in 40 feet at 20 mph.
Delaware
Every motor vehicle when operated on a highway shall be equipped with brakes adequate to control the movement, and to stop and hold such vehicle and any trailer attached thereto, including 2 separate means of applying the brakes.
New Hampshire
Requires any vehicle combination to stop in 30 feet at 20 mph.
Massachusetts
Every trailer having an unladed weight of more than 10,000 lbs shall be equipped with air or electric brakes.
Missouri
Independent braking system not required except on trailers coupled by a 5th wheel and kingpin.
New Jersey
Every trailer and semitrailer must have brakes that can be automatically applied upon break-away from the towed vehicle, and means shall be provided to stop and hold the vehicle for adequate period of time.
North Carolina
Every semitrailer, trailer, or separate vehicle attached by a drawbar or coupling to a towing vehicle of at least 4,000 lbs, and every house trailer weighing at least 1,000 lbs, shall be equipped with brake controlled or operated by the driver of the towing vehicle.
North Dakota
Every trailer operated at a speed in excess of 25 mph must have safety chains or brakes adequate to control the movement of and to stop and to hold such vehicle and designed so that they can be applied by the driver of the towing vehicle from its cab, and must be designed and connected so that in case of an accidental breakaway the brakes are automatically applied.

 

United States Towing Laws

0 lbs * Kansas
* North Dakota
Wyoming
1,000 lbs New York
North Carolina
1,500 lbs * California
* Idaho
* Nevada
* Tennessee
New Hampshire
2,000 lbs * Mississippi
* Ohio
3,000 lbs * Alabama
* Arizona
* Arkansas
* Colorado
* Connecticut
* Dist. of Columbia
* Florida
Georgia
* Hawaii
* Illinois
* Indiana
* Iowa
* Louisiana
Maine
* Maryland
* Michigan
* Minnesota
* Montana
* Nebraska
* New Jersey
New Mexico
* Oklahoma
* Pennsylvania
* South Carolina
* South Dakota
* Vermont
* Virginia
* Washington
* West Virginia
Wisconsin
4,000 lbs Delaware
* Rhode Island
North Carolina
4,500 lbs * Texas
5,000 lbs * Alaska
10,000 lbs Massachusetts

Canadian Towing Laws

910 kg (2,007 lbs) * Alberta
2,000 kg (4,409 lbs) * British Columbia
Independent trailer braking system required where licensed weight of a trailer (excluding tow dollies) exceeds 1,400 kg or over 50% of licensed weight of towing vehicle; not required with motorhome towing with towbar a motor vehicle weighing less than 2,000 kg that is also less than 40% of motorhome GVWR.
910 kg (2,007 lbs) Manitoba
1,500 kg (3,308 lbs) * New Brunswick
* Newfoundland
Required if vehicles cannot be brought to a stop within a distance of 10 meters at 30 km/h from the point at which brakes are applied.
0 kg (0 lbs) * Northwest Territories
1,800 kg (4,000 lbs) * Nova Scotia
1,360 kg (3,000 lbs) Ontario
1,500 kg (3,308 lbs) Prince Edward Island
1,300 kg (2,867 lbs) * Quebec
1,360 kg (3,000 lbs) Saskatchewan
910 kg (2,007 lbs) * Yukon

* Breakaway required above stated vehicle weight.

This information was collected from the Digest of Motor Laws 2006 and from a variety of third-party sources. While reasonable efforts were made to verify the information, Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation, its employees and agents do not warrant the accuracy of the information and disclaim all liability for any claims and damages of any nature that may arise from errors omissions. If you have any questions regarding state or local laws, please consult with the appropriate agency. (Updated Apr. 2007)