Ask a Trooper: Tow dolly restrictions are explained

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“ASK A TROOPER” by Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol

QUESTION: If I rent a properly licensed and lighted tow dolly from a rental company, can I tow a non-running vehicle that is not licensed (no current plates) and not insured?  Do I need tail lights in addition to the dolly lights?

ANSWER:  First I will explain what a tow dolly is for those who may not know.

A tow dolly is little more than two wheels, an axle and a tow-hitch, used to tow a front-wheel drive suspension vehicle behind a recreational vehicle or other larger vehicle. It is generally designed to tow a vehicle with the front wheels on the tow dolly. To answer your question, I would say you can do this as long as you’re meeting the following criteria:

•    The vehicle you are using to tow the dolly is properly registered, insured and legal to tow the non-running vehicle (hitch, weight ratings, etc.).

•    The dolly is properly registered and has the required dolly lights and reflectors.

•    If the non-running vehicle sticks out beyond the dolly, it must be equipped with at least two tail lamps on the rear. The lamps must be on the same level and as widely spaced laterally as practical.

You may want to talk with your auto insurance agent about insuring the non-running vehicle. Even though the towing vehicle has insurance coverage, it might not apply if something happened to the non-running vehicle.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205.  (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, [email protected]).


One Response to Ask a Trooper: Tow dolly restrictions are explained

  1. floyd aldrich says:

    Hi Jesse a car tow dolly,,, dose the dolly have to have brakes 218 770 3987 stay safe !!!!!

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