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Traffic Tip: Towing safety chains

By Zac De La Rosa
June 23, 2012 at 1:23 a.m.


This week's traffic law is found in The Texas Transportation Code,

Sec. 545.410.: Towing safety chains.

(a) An operator of a passenger car or light truck may not draw a trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, or another motor vehicle unless safety chains of a type approved by the department are attached in a manner approved by the department from the trailer, semitrailer, house trailer or drawn motor vehicle to the drawing vehicle. This subsection does not apply to the drawing of a trailer or semitrailer used for agricultural purposes.

(b) The department shall adopt rules prescribing the type of safety chains required to be used according to the weight of the trailer, semitrailer, house trailer or motor vehicle being drawn. The rules shall:

(1) Require safety chains to be strong enough to maintain the connection between the trailer, semitrailer, house trailer or drawn motor vehicle and the drawing vehicle; and

(2) Show the proper method to attach safety chains between the trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, or drawn motor vehicle and the drawing vehicle.

(c) Subsection (b) does not apply to trailers, semitrailers or house trailers that are equipped with safety chains installed by the original manufacturer before the effective date of the rules.

(d) This section does not apply to a trailer, semitrailer, house trailer or drawn motor vehicle that is operated in compliance with the federal motor carrier safety regulations.

(e) In this section, "safety chains" means flexible tension members connected from the front of a drawn vehicle to the rear of the drawing vehicle to maintain connection between the vehicles if the primary connecting system fails.

Why the emphasis on this particular traffic law?

It is not an uncommon occurrence for trailers to become unhitched from the vehicle pulling them, for various reasons. This can create a very dangerous situation to other motorist, with scenarios including property damage, bodily injury, or fatal accidents, especially at highway speeds.

With the proper tow chains being utilized, should the trailer become unhitched, the chains will allow the trailer to remain connected to the towing vehicle so the trailer can be safely brought to a stop.

If you have a traffic law question, contact Senior Patrol Officer Zac De La Rosa, Victoria Police Department Traffic Safety Unit, 361-485-3700.

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