Towing requirements, lighting illuminated

Tips from a Trooper - Trooper Jimmy Wallace

Is it legal to tow a car with a chain, rope or cable? The answer is no.

Title 47 Oklahoma State Statue 12 Section 405.2.C of this statute sums it up briefly in that no person shall tow any vehicle by sole use of a chain, cable, ropes, or any combination thereof. It is unlawful for any motor vehicle to pull another vehicle in this state without a proper coupling device.

Essentially, a coupling device is described as being a mechanical device that connects a vehicle to the object being towed and is designed solely for that purpose.

Title 47 Oklahoma State Statute 12 section 405.1 addresses this requirement in detail. Every trailer, semitrailer, manufactured home or towed motor vehicle shall be equipped with a coupling device which shall be designed, constructed, and used so that the trailer, semitrailer, manufactured home, or towed motor vehicle will follow substantially in the path of the vehicle drawing it without whipping or swerving from side to side.

This particular statute goes on to list additional safety requirements in the form of safety stay chains or cables of sufficient size and strength to prevent the towed vehicle or trailer from detaching from the towed vehicle in the event that the regular coupling device breaks or otherwise disengages. These safety stay chains or cables are required in addition to and not in place of a coupling device.

I am often asked by motorists if it is OK to pull a vehicle or trailer (even a flatbed trailer) without lights. I wish to remind everyone that in addition to the required mechanical devices necessary for safely towing a motor vehicle or trailer, certain electrical devices, namely tail lamps are required as well.

Title 47 Oklahoma state statute 12 section 204 lists the requirements that every motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, pole trailer, and any vehicle that is being towed at the end of a combination of vehicles be equipped with at least two tail lamps mounted on the rear at the same level that emits a red light and is visible from 1,000 feet to the rear. These required lights cannot be more than 72 inches high, or lower than 15 inches, and must be operational any time the headlights, clearance or combination of both are turned on.

Tips from a Trooper

Trooper Jimmy Wallace

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