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ASK A COP: What are the rules on trailer hitches?

ASK A COP: What are the rules on trailer hitches?

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Each week, Scottsbluff Police Cpl. Krisa Brass will answer questions submitted by Star-Herald readers. Send questions for consideration to youasked@starherald.com or by leaving your question at 308-632-9057.

Is it illegal in Nebraska to have your trailer hitch in place while not towing a trailer, boat, camper etc.? It usually falls under not having anything protruding past the rear bumper by “x” amount of inches, but I wonder if there’s specifically a law.

I am not aware of a statute or ordinance prohibiting a trailer hitch being in place while not being actively used for towing, etc.

As for the protruding past the bumper, anytime the load on a vehicle extends more than four feet beyond the rear of the bed or body, a red flag shall be displayed at the end of the load in a way that it is clearly visible at all times from the rear. The flag cannot be less than 12 inches in both length and width and under normal conditions must be visible from 200 feet behind the vehicle. This is outlined in state statute and mirrored by Scottsbluff City Ordinance.

There are a few other statutes that cover specific restrictions on parts protruding from the back of a pickup.

The drawbar or other connection between any two vehicles, one of which is towing or drawing the other on a highway, shall not exceed 15 feet in length from one vehicle to the other, except a vehicle being towed with a connection device that is an integral component of the vehicle and is designed to attach to a lead unit with construction in such a manner as to allow articulation at the attachment point on the chassis of the towed vehicle but not to allow lateral or side-to-side movement. A red flag or other signal or cloth shall be displayed at approximately the halfway point between the towing vehicle and the towed vehicle on the connecting mechanism. Again, the flag must be 12 inches both in length and width and be at least five feet and not more than ten feet from the level of the paving and shall be displayed along the outside line on both sides of the towing and towed vehicles. Whenever such connection consists of a chain, rope, or cable, there shall be displayed upon such connection a red flag or other signal or cloth not less than 12 inches both in length and width.

It is unlawful to park any motor truck vehicle with the end gate of the same down and extending beyond the body of such vehicle, except while such vehicle is being loaded or unloaded in any otherwise lawful manner.

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