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?
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.
The Oklahoma Tax Commission regulations say: “Commercial trailers are registered for an initial fee of $46 and an annual renewal fee of $4. The $46 initial registration fee is assessed upon the initial registration of a commercial trailer by a new owner. Multiple trailer registrations may be renewed (at $4 each) on a single transaction receipt. Registrants may request individual renewal receipts for each trailer, or group of trailers, they own. A tag agent fee of $3.56 is added to each commercial trailer registration renewal transaction receipt generated, regardless of the number of trailers reflected on the receipt.
“Farm trailers may, at the option of the owner, be registered only (no title issued) for an annual fee of $7. If the owner chooses not to register, agricultural trailers are required to display the owner's drivers license number or license plate number of any vehicle owned by the trailer's owner on the rear in numbers not less than two (2) inches high.”
I believe that answers your question about identification, Richard.
Key words here: “commercial” (used for business), “farm trailers” (used on a farm). And note what regulations apply to each.
You ask, Richard, why isn’t state law enforced regarding trailer tags. It is, but it might not be quite the priority in these days and times, unless there are other circumstances. Lt. Betsy Randolph, speaking on behalf of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, puts it this way.
“CMV are handled differently,” she says about the commercial vehicles, “but take for an example someone with a small trailer moving lawn equipment.
“We would not be particularly interested in stopping them for no trailer tag (because it isn't required) but we may stop them if they had debris falling off their trailer and onto the roadway or hitting other vehicles. This includes: clumps of grass, sand, rocks, tree limbs, or trash bags filled with miscellaneous lawn waste.
“Then we would stop and visit with those folks about their unsecured loads and possibly cite them for such infractions.”
We have by no means traveled all the roads through this area, Richard. But at least this should give you a better understanding of some of the key points.
By the way ...
For those with questions about trailers that carry recreation-related items, check with your local tag agent.
Enjoy your week and drive safely.