Motorsports Trailer Laws

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Thousands participate in legal racing events around the country each year. Many rely on motorsports trailers to transport race cars to the track. Often, a confusing maze of laws and regulations that govern use of these trailers on state roadways are encountered along the way. To help clarify, the following resource guide provides federal and state laws/regulations governing motorsports trailers for both hobby and commercial activities.

Use the map-based links posted above for the laws and regulations of each jurisdiction in their entirety. To quickly navigate through this material, a summary has been provided at the top of each document.

Citations issued frequently fall within two categories: 1.) the size of the trailer violated state law, or 2.) the vehicle/trailer combination was considered "commercial" by enforcement authorities but had not been registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) or state-equivalent agency, as required.

State laws on trailer size may vary, but the vehicle/trailer combination is subject to the laws of the jurisdiction in which it is traveling. DOT registration requirements begin at a relatively low weight (10,001 pounds for a "commercial" vehicle/trailer combination) and law enforcement may too easily reach a conclusion that the vehicle/trailer combination is "commercial." For example, if a trailer owner is displaying corporate logos on the trailer, the trailer could be considered "commercial." Further, any carrier that is required to obtain a DOT number is also required to register under the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) and pay fees (currently $59/year for 1-2 vehicles).

DOT/UCR Registration:

Describes what triggers DOT/UCR registration requirements and how the "motorsports exemption" can help avoid such registration requirements.

Trailer Size, etc.:

A comparison of rules across the nation covering dimensions, brakes, hitch/signals, lighting/reflectors, mirrors, speed limits, towing and other restrictions.


This webpage was created to serve as a useful supplement for understanding federal and state laws governing motorsports trailers. The information contained herein is current as of December 1, 2021. Please be advised that these federal and state laws and regulations are subject to change. Please consult the current statutes and regulations of interest to ensure the accuracy of the information contained within this resource.

PRI and SEMA have relied upon federal and state resources to collect the material but disclaims any responsibility for the contents. PRI and SEMA also disclaims any responsibility for any claims that might result from reliance on the contents of the material. For further questions, please contact SEMA Action Network at

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