I don't know that you will be able to find the Minnesota statute or regulation on point. If you can, I will be grateful for sure but my search led me to a more general question.

MN has a comparatively easy to use online statute library. https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/ I searched there for trailer and could not find any regulation about how far off the back of a trailer a load can hang (or how far a load can hang off the back of a trailer). I searched CA's statutes and found their rule:

Vehicle Code - VEH

DIVISION 15. CHAPTER 4. Length [35400 - 35414]

35410. The load upon any motor vehicle alone or an independent load only upon a trailer or semitrailer shall not extend to the rear beyond the last point of support for a greater distance than that equal to two-thirds of the length of the wheelbase of the vehicle carrying such load, except that the wheelbase of a semitrailer shall be considered as the distance between the rearmost axle of the towing vehicle and the rearmost axle of the semitrailer.

So I know that some states regulate this stuff.

The fact that I cannot find a statute in MN leads me to hesitantly conclude that the statute does not exist. However, if I get pulled over and cited, I will not be surprised that the rule exists and that I just missed it.

So, with something like this, how does one go about exhausting the search and (perhaps more interestingly) can we use as a defense the extent to which we searched and the extent to which the statute was nearly impossible to find?

Oh, and—is there a rule in MN about load-overhang?

  • Have you looked in the "Minnesota Drivers Manual" in the new drivers section of the website - this is almost certainly mentioned in there if it exists. If it doesn't exist then you will have the usual problem of proving a negative. Even without a specific laws there will be a catch-all that requires the vehicle to be "safe"
    – Dale M
    Jul 22, 2015 at 23:36
  • @DaleM It didn't occur to me to check the driver's manual. I'll check it out!
    – jqning
    Jul 23, 2015 at 3:17
  • You could also call the Minnesota DOT, or the State Patrol, and ask them. Even if you're not asking about a commercial vehicle, the oversize/overweight permit office might have a quick answer.
    – daffy
    Jul 23, 2015 at 3:44
  • Did you find Minn State Statutes 169.080 et seq. regarding "SIZE, WEIGHT, AND LOAD RESTRICTIONS AND PERMITS" of vehicles and combinations?
    – Upnorth
    Aug 21, 2017 at 4:19

1 Answer 1


tl;dr: In general, for trailers, the laws I could find seem primarily concerned with the total length and width, rather than overhang.

I believe you're looking for Minnesota Statutes sections 169.80 SIZE, WEIGHT, LOAD and 169.81 HEIGHT AND LENGTH LIMITATIONS. There is also a section (169.82) on trailer equipment, but that doesn't seem to have anything about overhang or length.

They specify various restrictions on load length and overhang.

This is seemingly the most relevant to towing:

The total outside width of a low bed trailer or equipment dolly, and the load, used exclusively for transporting farm machinery and construction equipment may not exceed nine feet in width except that a low bed trailer or equipment dolly with a total outside width, including the load, in excess of 102 inches may not be operated on any interstate highway without first having obtained a permit for the operation under section 169.86. The vehicle must display 12-inch square red flags as markers at the front and rear of the left side of the vehicle.

For overhang specifically: For trailers, the law seems mostly concerned with the total width and length, as described above. For loads carried directly by vehicles, there are various provisions, such as:

No passenger-type vehicle shall be operated on any highway with any load carried thereon extending beyond the line of the fenders on the left side of such vehicle nor extending more than six inches beyond the line of the fenders on the right side thereof


The load upon any vehicle operated alone, or the load upon the front vehicle of a combination of vehicles, shall not extend more than three feet beyond the front wheels of such vehicle or the front bumper of such vehicle if it is equipped with such a bumper.

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