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Traffic Talk: Does Oklahoma law require trailers to have license tags?

Don Gammill: Not every trailer in Oklahoma has to be registered (or have a tag), but there are various rules and regulations that affects many of them.
By Don Gammill, Staff Writer Published: June 30, 2014

If you’re traveling this July 4 holiday weekend, expect heavy traffic on our highways. But whether you are on the move or staying close to home for the Independence Day celebration, here’s hoping you will do so safely.

It’s one of the biggest holidays of the year, and with school out, vacations trips are the norm. You can expect a heavier than normal number of vehicles on the roadways and an abundance of people enjoying the outdoors (weather permitting, of course), such as at lakes and parks. Just be prepared and be safe.

It’s also a time you can see lots of trailers.

I see numerous trailer-pulling vehicles on our Oklahoma roadways where the trailer has no vehicle tag (similar to a car tag) visible from the rear of the trailer. Many of these trailers are so large the car tag is obscured/un-visible. If these trailer-pulling vehicles leave the scene of an accident or crime, how are they identified by witnesses to law enforcement? Doesn’t Oklahoma law require trailer tags? And why isn’t it enforced?

— Richard

Size and use are two of the most important factors relating to this area, Richard. Not every trailer has to be registered (or have a tag), but there are various rules and regulations that affects many of them.

First, the state statutes define what is a trailer. In Chapter 47-1-180, we begin with this: “Every vehicle with or without motive power, other than a pole trailer, designed for carrying persons or property and for being drawn by a motor vehicle and so constructed that no part of its weight rests upon the towing vehicle, provided however, the definition of trailer herein shall not include implements of husbandry as defined in Section 1-125 of this chapter.”

Note the key parts: no motive power, designed to carry people or property, drawn by a motor vehicle and not an “implement of husbandry.”

There’s a description you might not have heard before: “implement of husbandry.” Basically, this refers to farm equipment, exclusively designed and used for agricultural purposes by a farmer. Examples include tractors and hay balers.

This is opposed to “commercial implements of husbandry,” which is farm equipment used by businesses that commercially provide agricultural services to farms. Examples would include fertilizer/sprayers, manure spreaders or grain grinders.

Confused yet? There’s more.

You have this “trailer” to haul, say, furniture. Do you have to have a tag? Remember: use and size.

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