It's Not Only Where You Live, It's Also Where You are Going.

Select the States/Provences that you are traveling through to find the minimum towing weight requirement. If what you are towing exceeds the weight, an auxiliary braking system is required.



Every motor vehicle when operated on a highway shall be equipped with brakes adequate to control the movement, and to stop and hold such vehicle and any trailer attached thereto, including 2 separate means of applying the brakes.

Brakes are required for any vehicle and load with a gross weight over 4,000 lbs.


Requires any vehicle combination to stop in 40 feet at 20 mph.


Kentucky law does not specifically require brakes on any passenger car trailers, regardless of weight. However, vehicles singular or in combination must be able to stop within distance specified by statute.


Every trailer having an unladed weight of more than 10,000 lbs shall be equipped with air or electric brakes.


Independent braking system required when gross weight exceeds 15,000 lbs.


Independent braking system not required except on trailers coupled by a 5th wheel and kingpin.


All commercial trailers with a carrying capacity of more than 10,000 lbs. shall be equipped on each wheel with brakes that can be operated from the driving position of the towing vehicle.

All recreational trailers having a gross loaded weight of 3,000 lbs. or more but less than 6,500 lbs. shall be equipped with brakes on at least 2 wheels.

All trailers with a gross loaded weight of 6,500 lbs. or more shall be equipped with brakes on each wheel. The brakes shall be operable from the driving position of the towing vehicle. Such trailers shall also be equipped with a breakaway, surge, or impulse switch on the trailer so that the trailer brakes are activated if the trailer becomes disengaged from the towing vehicle.

New Jersey

Every trailer and semitrailer must have brakes that can be automatically applied upon break-away from the towed vehicle, and means shall be provided to stop and hold the vehicle for adequate period of time.

New Hampshire

Requires any vehicle combination to stop in 30 feet at 20 mph.

North Carolina

Every semitrailer, trailer, or separate vehicle attached by a drawbar or coupling to a towing vehicle of at least 4,000 lbs, and every house trailer weighing at least 1,000 lbs, shall be equipped with brake controlled or operated by the driver of the towing vehicle.

North Dakota

Every trailer operated at a speed in excess of 25 mph must have safety chains or brakes adequate to control the movement of and to stop and to hold such vehicle and designed so that they can be applied by the driver of the towing vehicle from its cab, and must be designed and connected so that in case of an accidental breakaway the brakes are automatically applied.


Brakes are required if the trailer has an empty weight of over 3,000 lbs.


Combination of vehicles must be able to stop within legal limits.


Requires any vehicle combination to stop in 40 feet at 20 mph.


Requires any vehicle combination to stop in 40 feet at 20 mph.

0 lb. limit

1,000 lbs (455 kg) limit

1,500 lbs (682 kg) limit

2,000 lbs (910 kg) limit

3,000 lbs (1,360 kg) limit

4,500 lbs (2,045 kg) limit

5,000 lbs (2,273 kg) limit

10,000 lbs (4,545 kg) limit

Special Requirements


Min. Weight

4,000 lbs (1,800 kg) limit


* Kansas

* North Dakota


0 lbs

New York

North Carolina

1,000 lbs

1,500 lbs

* California

* Idaho

* Nevada

* Tennessee

New Hampshire

2,000 lbs

* Mississippi

* Ohio

3,000 lbs

* Alabama

* Arizona

* Arkansas

* Colorado

* Connecticut

* Dist. of Columbia

* Florida


* Hawaii

* Illinois

* Indiana

* Iowa

* Louisiana


* Maryland

* Michigan

* Minnesota

* Montana

* Nebraska

* New Jersey

New Mexico

* Oklahoma

* Pennsylvania

* South Carolina

* South Dakota

* Vermont

* Virginia

* Washington

* West Virginia



* Rhode Island

North Carolina

4,000 lbs

* Texas

4,500 lbs

* Alaska

5,000 lbs

10,000 lbs

* Massachusetts


* Northwest Territories

0 kg

* Alberta


* Yukon

910 kg
(2,007 lbs)

* Quebec

1,300 kg (2,867 lbs)



1,360 kg (3,000 lbs)

Prince Edward Island

1,500 kg (3,308 lbs)

* New Brunswick

* Newfoundland

Required if vehicles cannot be brought to a stop within a distance of 10 meters at 30 km/h from the point at which brakes are applied.

1,500 kg (3,308 lbs)

* Nova Scotia

1,800 kg (4,000 lbs)

2,000 kg (4,409 lbs)

* British Columbia

Independent trailer braking system required where licensed weight of a trailer (excluding tow dollies) exceeds 1,400 kg or over 50% of licensed weight of towing vehicle; not required with motorhome towing with towbar a motor vehicle weighing less than 2,000 kg that is also less than 40% of motorhome GVWR.



This information was collected from the Digest of Motor Laws 2006 and from a variety of third-party sources. While reasonable efforts were made to verify the information, Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation, its employees and agents do not warrant the accuracy of the information and disclaim all liability for any claims and damages of any nature that may arise from errors omissions. If you have any questions regarding state or local laws, please consult with the appropriate agency. (Updated Dec. 2017)

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