Fifth Wheelin'
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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Carry Passengers in Your Fifth Wheel?

You've got a nice trip planned--what could be more fun than to share it with friends? But alas, your tow rig doesn't have enough seats to carry everyone. Can you tuck a few away "back" in the fifth wheel? The answer may surprise you.

When we pop this question around the campfire, the typical response is: "Are you crazy? Of course not!" Whoa! Actually, some states do allow passengers to travel in a fifth wheel trailer, provided certain conditions are met. Others don't allow passengers in any sort of trailer, under any condition. This is one of those sad cases where there's no universal answer. For example, in California you may lawfully carry passengers, provided there's a "signaling device" between the trailer and the tow vehicle. A set of walkie talkies will cover this requirement. Up in Manitoba, on the other hand, the law doesn't allow carrying of passengers in any trailer.

How do you find out whether transporting passengers in your fiver is legal in a given locality? Ah, there's the tough one. Perhaps the best (and quickest) way is to call the home office of the state's highway patrol. The off-the-cuff answer you receive may just be a guess, so persist--perhaps even asking for the specific 'chapter and verse,' of that state's law that codifies the requirement. In that way you can be sure of the answer, and if stopped in a state that does allow passenger hauling, you'll be able to help 'uninformed uniforms' learn the law a little better.


Keep in mind, just because hauling passengers in your fiver is legal, doesn't necessarily equate to a "good idea." Ever seen a fifth wheel with seat belts? Trailers aren't designed for passenger safety in the event of an accident. Even where carrying passengers in a trailer is legal, you'll have to make your own choice as to whether you'll want to.

12 Comments:

  • would have been nice if you would have taken the time to list states or providences that do or do not allow. Oregon it is legal to carry passengers in a 5th wheel.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:54 AM  

  • To get a list of states that tells whether riding in a 5th wheel is legal or not, go to http://www.towingworld.com/articles/TowingLaws.htm

    By Anonymous John Boyd, at 12:30 PM  

  • Go to: www towingworld.com/articles/TowingLaws.htm

    By Anonymous John Boyd, at 12:33 PM  

  • I don’t know about you guys but picture this; your wife or your kids are in the 5th wheel and lets say their laying on the bed or they’re in the back making a sandwich and some idiot pulls in front of you and you have to slam on the breaks to avoid an accident. You know the rest. MJ, San Diego

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:18 AM  

  • Several years ago when I was part of an ambulance crew, we were called to an accident on the nearby interstate. The tow vehicle had made a sharp correction to avoid collision. The left wheel of the trailer dropped off the pavement and rolled onto its side in the median. I won't describe the scene inside the trailer (it was pretty ugly), but that accident was one of my most challenging -- getting a woman with serious back injuries out of a trailer on its side. NO ONE will ever ride in a trailer that I have anything to do with.

    Lew

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:09 AM  

  • come on people... please. It's perfectly legal (and absolutely equivalent) to ride without seat belts in an RV. The fact that your personal boundaries don't permit passengers in fifth wheels and trailers does not equate to universal practice. In fact, there are lots of reasons why indiscriminately revoking those liberties only serves to further frustrate the populace, which, if left to themselves, would generally make good choices, informed by the experiences of others. Geez, we gotta stop imposing our personal laws on others. As a friend of mine puts it, "Don't should on yourself, and don't should on your friends."

    By Anonymous Alan, at 11:57 PM  

  • I have had the unfortunate experience of laying a 30' fifth wheel on it's side due to an icy bridge deck. Until you see the inside of an RV after an accident you can't imagine what it looks like! This makes it so difficult for someone to understand the potential injuries to a person that might have been in the RV. My fifth wheel had a welded aluminum frame and the structure stayed in tack. Some will almost disintegrate, leaving only the under carriage and a pile of rubble! Sure, you aren't going to have an accident. That's what I thought too.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:36 AM  

  • Again, the point is, what is the difference in a fifth wheel accident/rollover and a RV accident/rollover?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:08 PM  

  • An accident is an accident.
    You still can get kill in the cab or the truck.

    It's just a person option on this topic.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:28 PM  

  • In almost all - if not ALL - 50 states seat belts are NOT required in school buses. Why haven't all of you nay-sayers done something about that? Perhaps we should ground all airplanes so they don't crash on top of our homes. Come on, folks, like the guy said - lets use a little common sense. As a paramedic, I have also seen some very ugly auto accidents with people who WERE wearing seat belts. Do we stop driving??

    By Blogger Brad, at 3:20 PM  

  • fith wheel with roll bars and seat belts. thats not too hard

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:34 PM  

  • http://www.towingworld.com/articles/TowingLaws.htm

    Here are the state by state laws regarding riding in a 5th wheel plus other information.

    I've wondered the same thing, I think we need to consider safety first and I don't know how it could be a safe thing. But - it's personal preference and we have to respect that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:14 AM  

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