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Tallyho (gbaedeker)
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Username: gbaedeker

Post Number: 146
Registered: 04-2014
Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2018 - 03:47 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

We just had the farm truck inspected, and the mechanic wouldn't perform the inspection until we'd removed the trailer hitch (ball hitch). He said that it's illegal to drive with it when not towing.

I've been asking around, but no one I've asked has heard of this (as we hadn't; that hitch hasn't been out of the receiver since it was installed, and the trailer is only hooked up about half the year). I just looked online, and it seems a lot of people have heard about it by word of mouth and have also gone online trying to find out if it's true. But no one seems to know the answer, and I can't find anything on mass.gov or anywhere else.

Does anyone know the answer to this, and if there is a law, can you please cite it or tell me where to find it?

TIA!!
sabrina (sabrinatmc)
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Username: sabrinatmc

Post Number: 3734
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2018 - 06:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

that is bull. I have gotten my truck inspected with the hitch attach because I lost the key. they still pasted my truck with it on.
ls27 (ls27)
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Username: ls27

Post Number: 745
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2018 - 06:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Total bull- my last truck the hitch was rusted in place, couldnt remove it
memom (memom)
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Username: memom

Post Number: 5152
Registered: N/A
Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2018 - 07:56 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I was getting my truck inspected the other day and the fella in front of me was told the same thing. I rarely keep hitch attached when not towing but itís because Iíve smacked my shin into it!
"Don't wait for the storm to pass, learn to dance in the rain."(author?)MA
Reg B (regb)
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Username: regb

Post Number: 6666
Registered: N/A
Posted on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 09:24 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've "Heard" of that supposed "law" or regulation too, but could never find it (in Mass).
I have never had the problem, but if it bothers you it might be worth challenging the mechanic to cite the MGL chapter that it is contained in.

If it obscures the license plate then that would make it illegal.

Anyway, I think most inspection stations who raise this are more concerned about their shins than the actual legality of a ball mount.
I have read of some really terrible injuries involving shin/tow ball, actual fractures from the resultant fall, etc.
Watch where you're going (-:
Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.
memom (memom)
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Username: memom

Post Number: 5156
Registered: N/A
Posted on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 11:13 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ouch, I can relate to that!
"Don't wait for the storm to pass, learn to dance in the rain."(author?)MA
andy (shawnee)
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Username: shawnee

Post Number: 1887
Registered: 04-2009
Posted on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 11:24 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Total BS, have you ever observed a comm. veh. remove the hitch between tows(NO), same with every farm veh.
Take it to another station.
Tallyho (gbaedeker)
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Username: gbaedeker

Post Number: 147
Registered: 04-2014
Posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 10:08 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Update: I called my local police department to ask about this but had to leave a message so I called my buddies where I take my car to be inspected.

Answer: This is not BS!! This is a fact. The law has been in place for "a long time," but most inspection centers chose not to "hassle people about it."

However, he said that now that "cameras are being used," they do have to comply, and if a client takes their truck in with the ball still in the receiver, they have to remove it before inspection.

He said there are two reasons: Nothing is allowed to extend beyond the bumper on a vehicle, front or back, because the entire purpose of a bumper is to help prevent damage between vehicles. Having a ball hitch in the rear or something in the front will cause more damage to the other vehicle. (This doesn't make complete sense to me because the receiver itself usually extends beyond the bumper, doesn't it?) But in general, it is logical: if a truck reversed into my car, and the ball hitch ripped my bumper off or punched through the car door instead of just bumping it, that would be very annoying.

Also, as others have pointed out, people can be injured by walking into or falling over a hitch that they aren't expecting. Okay, admit it, how many of you have NOT walked into your own hitch that you know is right there?? :-) I know I have the shin scars to prove I've done it. So a person walking to their car in the dark parking lot, not knowing that a truck had a hitch on it, and walked into it--*#@(*!!!!

Please don't shoot the messenger, BTW. I'm just reporting what I've learned and thought I'd pass it on. If the police officer tells me anything different, I'll let you know.
Reg B (regb)
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Username: regb

Post Number: 6667
Registered: N/A
Posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 01:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree with the logic and the spirit of all that, howeverrrr.....

Every time this has come up in this and other forums I have searched the mass gov web sites and have NEVER been able to find the statute or regulation that spells this out.

Any number of quotes from cops and mechanics who "know" that it is the law, but NOBODY can cite the statute or regulation.

So, it you ever get a response from your local police station PLEASE ask them for the "Chapter and verse" where this is spelled out.
Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.
bill gokey (bronco_billy)
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Username: bronco_billy

Post Number: 6375
Registered: 07-2008
Posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 05:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I remember way back, 40+ years ago, the state came up with a law in Ma. where all side mirrors had to be painted orange. Can you imagine having to paint the mirrors on your brand new pickup orange. There were orange mirrors everywhere including all of our bucket trucks. I think the law was challenged and it ended up in the waste basket of bad ideas.
sea of horsies (sea_of_horsies)
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Username: sea_of_horsies

Post Number: 1655
Registered: 04-2008
Posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 07:05 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I reached out to a kid I know with a drivers ed handbook. Iím curious if she can find anything in there. I used to leave my hitch in because i used it as a step up into the rear of the vehicle. Canít recall if I ever left that step up in for inspection or not.
Reg B (regb)
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Username: regb

Post Number: 6668
Registered: N/A
Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 09:35 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't remember the orange mirrors thing, was that just "trucks" that were registered commercial ?

I do remember the fashion of multi colored spiral patterns on door mirrors, I still see them once in a while - BIG eye balls too.

Anyway, I'll agree that it is "good practice" to remove the ball mount when not towing - if I had done that on my '87 suburban it wouldn't have rusted in place and I might have saved some shin skin.
Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.
returnedtoridin (returnedtoridin)
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Username: returnedtoridin

Post Number: 215
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 12:22 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I contacted the registry when I was told I needed to remove my hitch. It is indeed the law.
bobflyby (bobflyby)
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Username: bobflyby

Post Number: 568
Registered: 03-2009
Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 12:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This is a crazy one.
I got rear ended on 128 North in Burlington by a girl who had just gotten her license and was looking down texting. I watched her as she slammed into the back of me. My trailer hitch was "luckily" on my truck. The front of her car was totaled. The State Trooper who came to the accident actually told me that the trailer hitch should not be on there and that he could ticket me for it. I fibbed and told him I has just dropped off my trailer and was on my way home. To top everything off the girl never paid her fee at the registry for her license so technically did not have her license, was driving her boyfriends car that was unregistered and uninsured. They put her in the back of the cruiser and carted her away. Long story short I felt bad for her but did learn about the trailer hitch law at that time.
Tallyho (gbaedeker)
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Username: gbaedeker

Post Number: 148
Registered: 04-2014
Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 01:23 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This is too funny! The police lieutenant just called me back and said . . . he has no idea! (And that his truck that he drove to work has the ball hitch in place because he never thought to take it off. : )

So, he asked some other officers, and the conclusion is that this is not regulated by the police, it's regulated by inspection. It's very unlikely that the police will pull you over for it, but if the inspection station is required by law to request it, then they may do it. (More word of mouth, he said a fireman came into the station while they were discussing this, and the fireman said, "Yes, it's absolutely illegal to drive with your hitch in place when you're not hauling.: )

So, sorry, Bill, I still can't cite the actual law or regulation regarding this. My inspection guys are always so busy, I don't want to ask them to look it up. Maybe some other inquiring mind could pursue it?

In any case, we'll be taking the ball hitch off of the farm truck between hauls, and are confident that our shins will thank us for it. :-)
bill gokey (bronco_billy)
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Username: bronco_billy

Post Number: 6378
Registered: 07-2008
Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 04:28 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I tried looking it up to no avail. I'll have to talk to few old geezer former truck owners. The law didn't last long so not all truck mirrors got painted.
Tallyho (gbaedeker)
New member
Username: gbaedeker

Post Number: 149
Registered: 04-2014
Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 07:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ah--hadn't seen the last two posts. That's really interesting, bobflyby! The more I thought about the damage a hitch could do even in a minor fender bender, the more I've wondered about this.

BTW, that was quick thinking about having just dropped your trailer off! I'm impressed--I'd be too flustered to think that fast. :-)
Sean McGillicuddy (smcgill)
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Username: smcgill

Post Number: 109
Registered: 07-2016
Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 07:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I wonder if it includes bike racks ?
Living the good life in Easton Mass.
Reg B (regb)
Junior Member
Username: regb

Post Number: 6670
Registered: N/A
Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 09:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bike racks when LOADED usually obscure the license plate.
So, YES !

Another "little thing"; In several States, e.g. CA you are required to have at least two mirrors with unobstructed view to the rear.
When towing a trailer or carrying a loaded bike rack the interior one is obscured, so you had better have BOTH door mirrors in good shape.

I know, picky, picky, but it is just the sort of thing that will get written up at the Union CT weigh station and your mirrors had better be CLEAN !
Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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