Certain types of campers, known as fifth wheel trailers, or fivers, are popular for their varied recreational uses and flexibility. Towed behind a truck, fifth wheel trailers contain living space that travelers can use for eating, sleeping and relaxation. Owners of fifth wheel trailers might wonder what laws exist regarding riding in their trailers while it is being towed on a roadway. Many states do permit this sort of use, but often only in certain circumstances.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Many states forbid passengers from riding in travel trailers while their towing vehicles are in motion. However, other states do allow riders in fifth wheel trailers with certain restrictions.
States That Permit Riding in Travel Trailers
State laws often set age limitations, typically requiring riders in travel trailers to be at least 14 years of age. In addition, most states require that the fifth wheel trailer has a door that can be opened from both the inside and outside for safety reasons. Some states mandate that passengers in travel trailers wear seat belts. In others, it is required that that windows in fifth wheels be made of safety glass in the event of an accident.
Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin permit passengers to travel in fifth wheels. Of these, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wisconsin require a source of communication between the driver of the towing vehicle and passengers in the travel trailer for safety reasons.
If you will be traveling in a fifth wheel, consult the department of motor vehicle regulations for your state before setting out on your trip and review the rules of other states that you may travel through on your journey.
Fifth Wheel Safety Tips
If you will be riding in a fifth wheel trailer, take certain steps to ensure your safety. The operator of the towing vehicle should be well rested and drive within the speed limit according to road and weather conditions. A windy day can prove dangerous for riders in travel trailers. Stick to travel on days with winds under 30 miles per hour. Avoid jerky movements and sharp turns, which could cause the fifth wheel trailer to flip. In addition, be sure that your mirrors are large and offer a full view along the entire side of the trailer.
With a bit of preparation, travel in a fifth wheel can be safe and enjoyable. Taking appropriate precautions helps you to remain within the boundaries of the law, as well.
- Your RV Lifestyle: 17 Fifth Wheel Travel Towing Tips
- California DMV: Recreational Vehicles and Trailers Handbook
- AAA: Trailer Other Provisions
- Michigan Legislature: Michigan Vehicle Code
- Oregon: Towing a Trailer in Oregon
- Federal Highway Administration: Federal Size Regulations for Commercial Motor Vehicles