Tennessee State Laws About Utility Trailers

by Bob White
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Tennessee laws regarding utility or any trailer type are important to understand if you are towing inside the state. Tennessee uses an intelligent transportation system called TDOT Smartway. You can access the system via telephone, Internet or smart phone application. It informs drivers of accidents, construction, road conditions and traffic flow in real time.

Utility Trailer Registration

If you live in Tennessee and don't plan on towing your utility trailer out of state, you do not have to register or title the trailer. Take the original trailer title and your driver's license to your local County Clerk's office and they will arrange the ownership in this fashion. If you do plan on towing outside the state, in 2011 it will cost you $80 to register the utility trailer with the County Office.

Utility Trailer Size

The maximum allowable size of utility trailer in the state of Tennessee is 40 feet long, 8 feet wide and 13 feet 6 inches high. The total length of the trailer plus tow vehicle can not exceed 65 feet.

Safety Devices

All trailers must have safety chains. Cross these under the coupler to catch the trailer's tongue in the event it detaches from the vehicle. If the trailer has electric or surge breaks, it must also have a breakway switch fastened to the trailer's brakes. A fire extinguisher and road flares are also required for all trailers.

Trailer Brake Laws

If the trailer's total mass is greater than 1,500 pounds, equip it with an independent electric or surge braking system. This is to mitigate the reduced braking of the tow vehicle due to the trailer's mass. To determine the weight of your trailer, look on its data plate for the gross trailer weight (GTW). The maximum weight of the trailer is 20,000 pounds per axle.

Other Trailer Laws

The maximum speed you can tow a trailer is 70 miles per hour or the posted speed limit (whichever is slower). The driver must have at least a D-Class license.

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