<VV> Flat Towing

Bill Elliott corvair at fnader.com
Tue Oct 13 23:24:28 EDT 2009

I think the laws (and more significantly enforcement) vary significantly state by state  (I was shocked to learn that in some places, a car towed on an open trailer must be licensed in addition to the trailer being licensed, but in an enclosed trailer it's exempt... talk about illogical)... and region by region. What you may "get away with" in Roanoke may play differently on the VA side of the DC Beltway even if the laws are identical.

As a rule of thumb, anything towed (at least about 1000lbs in most places) should be licensed. If the car is towed flat, it should have tags. If it's on a trailer, that should have tags, but the car generally doesn't have to. A dolly is considered a form of trailer and I have never heard of anyone being hit for towing an unlicensed car on one (while I have heard of people ticketed for flat towing unlicensed cars...).

If you really want to dig deep, go check the state laws that are now requiring supplemental braking systems for flat towed vehicles...


I won't try to argue that it's not illegal to pull something behind 
you without any tags on it... I'm just mentioning that I've done it a 
lot of times and nobody ever said anything about my doing so 
including the State policeman who stopped behind me on Rt 460 after 
I'd stopped while towing a Lakewood from Forest VA to Roanoke, 
stopped to do a walk-around (I do that about every 30 miles or so 
just to make sure the tires are all still up and nothing is coming 
loose etc).    The policeman asked me if everything was OK and I said 
yes, was just doing a checkout, he said be careful and drive safely 
and went on.   Lakewood not only had no tags it had no glass or 
tailgate.  But it did have 4 tires...  ;)

This would be an interesting regulation to research and check 
out...  perhaps if the towed vehicle is genuinely inop there's a 
loophole...?   I dunno.

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