Code Section Group

Vehicle Code - VEH

DIVISION 13. TOWING AND LOADING EQUIPMENT [29000 - 31560]

  ( Division 13 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

CHAPTER 1. Towing Equipment [29000 - 29009]
  ( Chapter 1 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

29000.
  

Unless specified, this chapter does not apply to tow trucks or to the drawbar or other connection between a motor vehicle and a pole or pipe dolly or logging dolly or to any lawful trailer used as a pole or pipe dolly.

(Amended by Stats. 1988, Ch. 924, Sec. 19.)

29001.
  

The upper and lower halves of every fifth wheel connecting device on any semitrailer and truck-tractor or auxiliary dolly shall be securely affixed to the vehicles to prevent shifting of the device on the vehicle to which it is attached.

(Added by renumbering Section 29000 by Stats. 1969, Ch. 338.)

29002.
  

Every fifth wheel mechanism, including adapters, shall be equipped with a locking device which will not permit the upper and lower halves to be separated without the operation of a positive manual release. The manual release shall be designed, installed, and maintained so that it cannot be accidentally operated. Automatic locking devices on fifth wheels designed and constructed to be readily separable are required on any vehicle first required to be registered in this state after January 1, 1954.

(Added by renumbering Section 29001 by Stats. 1969, Ch. 338.)

29003.
  

(a) Every hitch or coupling device used as a means of attaching the towed and towing vehicles shall be properly and securely mounted and be structurally adequate for the weight drawn. The mounting of the hitch or coupling device on the towing and towed vehicle shall include sufficient reinforcement or bracing of the frame to provide sufficient strength and rigidity to prevent undue distortion of the frame.

(b) The drawbar, tongue, or other connection between the towing and towed vehicles shall be securely attached and structurally adequate for the weight drawn.

(c) The raised end of any motor vehicle being transported by another motor vehicle using a tow dolly shall be secured to the tow dolly by two separate chains, cables, or equivalent devices adequate to prevent shifting or separation of the towed vehicle and the tow dolly.

(Amended by Stats. 1983, Ch. 708, Sec. 10.)

29004.
  

(a) (1) Except as required under paragraph (2), a towed vehicle shall be coupled to the towing vehicle by means of a safety chain, cable, or equivalent device in addition to the regular drawbar, tongue, or other connection.

(2) A vehicle towed by a tow truck shall be coupled to the tow truck by means of at least two safety chains in addition to the primary restraining system. The safety chains shall be securely affixed to the truck frame, bed, or towing equipment, independent of the towing sling, wheel lift, or under-reach towing equipment.

(3) A vehicle transported on a slide back carrier tow truck or on a trailer shall be secured by at least four tiedown chains, straps, or an equivalent device, independent of the winch or loading cable. This subdivision does not apply to vehicle bodies that are being transported in compliance with Sections 393.100 to 393.136, inclusive, of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(b) All safety connections and attachments shall be of sufficient strength to control the towed vehicle in the event of failure of the regular hitch, coupling device, drawbar, tongue, or other connection. All safety connections and attachments also shall have a positive means of ensuring that the safety connection or attachment does not become dislodged while in transit.

(c) No more slack may be left in a safety chain, cable, or equivalent device than is necessary to permit proper turning. When a drawbar is used as the towing connection, the safety chain, cable, or equivalent device shall be connected to the towed and towing vehicle and to the drawbar so as to prevent the drawbar from dropping to the ground if the drawbar fails.

(d) Subdivision (a) does not apply to a semitrailer having a connecting device composed of a fifth wheel and kingpin assembly, and does not apply to a towed motor vehicle when steered by a person who holds a license for the type of vehicle being towed.

(e) For purposes of this section, a “tow truck” includes both of the following:

(1) A repossessor’s tow vehicle, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 615.

(2) An automobile dismantler’s tow vehicle, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 615.

(f) A vehicle towed by a repossessor’s tow vehicle, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 615, is exempt from the multisafety chain requirement of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) so long as the vehicle is not towed more than one mile on a public highway and is secured by one safety chain.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 769, Sec. 39. Effective January 1, 2013.)

29004.5.
  

No recreational vehicle, as described in Section 18010.5 of the Health and Safety Code, designed to be towed, shall be manufactured for sale in this state, sold, offered for sale, leased, or rented unless it is equipped with a safety connection in compliance with Section 29004 with breaking strength which equals or exceeds the gross weight of the towed vehicle. The retail seller, renter, or lessor shall supply instructions to the purchaser, renter, or lessee of such recreational vehicle on proper methods of making the connection between the towed and towing vehicles. Nothing in this section shall, however, require a lessor of a recreational vehicle to supply to the lessee of such vehicle the required instructions if such vehicle is sold to the lessor by a third party and such third party or the agent of the third party delivers possession of the vehicle to the lessee. In such case, such third party shall supply to the lessee the required instructions.

(Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 932.)

29005.
  

When one vehicle is towing another, the drawbar or other connection shall not exceed 15 feet.

(Added by Stats. 1961, Ch. 58.)

29006.
  

(a) No person shall operate a vehicle towing another motor vehicle upon a freeway unless the towing vehicle is coupled to the towed vehicle by a rigid structure attached securely to both vehicles by nonrigid means.

(b) The requirements of subdivision (a) are not applicable to a vehicle towing a motor vehicle which has been disabled and is being towed from the point of disablement to the nearest and most accessible exit from the freeway.

(Added by Stats. 1970, Ch. 334.)

29007.
  

The requirements of Section 29004 shall not apply to vehicles engaged in driveaway-towaway operations if all the following conditions are met:

(a) The towed vehicle has one end supported by the towing vehicle.

(b) The towed vehicle is secured to the towing vehicle by a device designed and constructed as to be readily demountable and to perform the functions of a fifth-wheel-type connection.

(c) The fifth-wheel-type connection device is securely affixed to the vehicles to prevent shifting of the device on the vehicles to which it is attached.

(d) The fifth-wheel-type connection device provides a means of variation of inclination between the towing and towed vehicle due to vertical curvatures of the highway. Such means shall not depend upon either the looseness or deformation of the connection or the vehicles to provide for such variation.

(e) No more than three saddle-mounts may be used in any combination.

(f) No more than one tow-bar or ball-and-socket type coupling device may be used in any combination.

(g) Driveaway-towaway combinations shall comply with all provisions specified in Section 393.71 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 451, Sec. 56. Effective January 1, 2016.)

29008.
  

Sections 29004 and 29005 shall not apply to trailers or dollies used to support booms attached to truck cranes if the following conditions are met:

(a) The trailer or dolly is connected to the boom by a pin, coupling device, or fifth wheel assembly.

(b) The trailer is secured to the boom with a chain, cable, or equivalent device of sufficient strength to control the trailer or dolly in case of failure of the connection consisting of a pin, coupling device, or fifth wheel assembly.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 538, Sec. 664. Effective January 1, 2007.)

29009.
  

The requirements of Section 29004 do not apply to a dolly used to support a portion of special construction equipment, as defined in Section 565, which, due to its size or weight is being operated under the authority of a permit issued by the Department of Transportation, if the dolly is secured to the construction equipment, and the construction equipment is secured to the towing vehicle, by chain, cable, or equivalent devices of sufficient strength to control the construction equipment and dolly.

(Added by Stats. 1988, Ch. 907, Sec. 3.)

VEHVehicle Code - VEH