DOT Regulations for Trailers in Kansas City

The Transwest Team
The Transwest Team
Jan 25, 2021
Weight station sign on freeway

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for regulating the use of commercial vehicles and trailers across the USA. However, throughout the country, different states and even different cities often feature their own unique set of regulations. 

For drivers interested in hauling goods across Kansas City, Kansas, it is important to understand what rules and regulations govern the use of trailers in this area. At Transwest, we understand how important it is for your next haul to go smoothly, which is why we carry a quality inventory of trucks and trailers

For those who are interested in driving through Kansas City and accompanying areas in the state of Kansas, the following guide will help you navigate the regulations for trailers and hauling goods.

The Kansas Corporation Commission

Starting with the information provided by the Kansas Highway Patrol, you can find information around the central regulating agency for the commercial trucking industry. In Kansas, it’s governed by the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC).

This regulating agency is responsible for not only commercial transportation, but also for electric, oil and gas, and telecommunication regulation in the state. The KCC utilizes motor carriers’ safety regulations paired with local economic regulations to govern the commercial motor vehicle operations in the state.

In conjunction with the KCC, the Highway Patrol Troopers and Motor Carrier Inspectors enforce all applicable regulations by performing:

  • Roadside inspections
  • Weigh stations on major highways
  • Special investigations
  • In-house audits
  • Safety compliance reviews

For those who operate a trailer, the question is: when do I fall under the regulations of the KCC? In Kansas, the answer is that if you are operating a vehicle or combination of vehicles (this could be a trailer and tractor combo) that has a weight rating or combination weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds while hauling for hire or for your own materials for the use in your own commercial enterprise, you will fall under their regulatory rules. 

What Are the Regulations I Must Adhere To?

For those who fall under the above specifications, the following regulations must be met:

  • Reporting on hours of duty
  • Medical examinations every two years
  • Minimum age restrictions
  • Appropriate methods of securing loads
  • The use of safety hitches
  • Specific regulations around trailer braking systems, tires, and emergency equipment
  • Annual inspections
  • Required markings including company name and USDOT number

Additional Information

For detailed information on the above regulations, you can contact the Kansas Corporation Commission, Transportation Division at 785-271-3145.

Trucking Permit Info

Having the right trucking permit can mean the difference between a smooth trip and a serious headache. The Wide Load Shipping outlines the following permit regulations for those who utilize trailers to adhere to when traveling through Kansas City. 

What Are the Legal Load Limits that Necessitate a Trucking Permit?

The following limits determine whether or not you need to obtain a trucking permit:

  • Trailer length: Your trailer cannot be longer than 59 feet and six inches in length. 
  • Trailer Width: Your trailer width cannot be more than eight feet and six inches. 
  • Trailer Height: Your trailer can only be a maximum of 14 feet tall before a permit is required.
  • Total Weight: You need a permit if you exceed 80,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW).

Oversized Vehicle Regulations

If you plan to drive a trailer through Kansas City and utilize the Kansas Turnpike, you will need to abide by all oversized vehicle regulations. The Kansas Turnpike Authority outlines the following helpful regulations for oversized loads: 

Length Restrictions

  • If a combination of vehicles, trailers, or loads exceeds 125 feet in length, the operation of this load must be pre-authorized by the Kansas Turnpike Authority. 
  • Combinations that exceed 125 feet in length will not be authorized to be operated at night on the Kansas Turnpike outside of emergencies. 
  • Any tandem or triple trailers are not encouraged to be driven on the Kansas Turnpike. During inclement weather, the operation of these vehicles may be restricted.

Height Restrictions

  • Loads and vehicle combinations that exceed 14 feet in height will be denied entry to the Kansas Turnpike until a Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper can measure the load. At this point, the trooper will either authorize the operation or deny the travel. 
  • If your trailer or load activates a height detector when entering the Kansas Turnpike, you must stop. You will not be allowed to process until a Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper authorizes you to do so.

Width Restrictions

  • Trailers, vehicles, and loads up to 12 feet are free to use the Kansas Turnpike during daylight hours. 
  • Any load, trailer, or combination that exceeds 12 feet in width, must go through a pre-authorization process with the Kansas Turnpike Authority. 
  • Vehicles and/or loads that exceed 12 feet will not be allowed to operate on the Kansas Turnpike at night except in emergency scenarios. 
  • Vehicles and/or loads that exceed 8.5 feet in width are not allowed to travel on the Kansas Turnpike during the nighttime hours, except when authorized for an emergency scenario. 
  • Vehicles and/or loads more than 14 feet in width can only operate on the Kansas Turnpike Monday-Thursday between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. In addition, an escort vehicle is required to accompany the vehicle and load. 
  • For vehicles and/or loads exceeding 16 feet in width, it is rare for the Kansas Turnpike Authority to authorize any operation on the Kansas Turnpike.

Oversized Load Restrictions

  • In addition to the above restrictions, it is necessary to comply with all Kansas laws governing authority, lights, flags, placards, and safety equipment when transporting an oversized load. 
  • Kansas does not require a special permit from the Kansas Department of Transportation for moving oversized loads on the Kansas Turnpike. 
  • In certain situations, such as during hazardous weather or road construction, the operation of oversized vehicles and loads may be temporarily restricted.

For additional information regarding oversize and overweight vehicle operation on the Kansas Turnpike, visit K-TRIPS, the Kansas Truck Routing and Intelligent Permitting System. 

For up to date info on road construction, restrictions, and road conditions, visit KanDrive

Commercial Vehicle Resources

For additional resources regarding the use of trailers for commercial use in Kansas City, visit the following online resources: 

Safety Resources

For additional information regarding safety requirements for trailers in Kansas City, visit the following online resources: 

Permitting Contact Info

Contact the Kansas Central Permit Office at 785-368-6501 for all permits (overwidth/weight, superloads, etc.). 

Trusted Partner for Trailer Purchases and Leasing

Operating a trailer, especially for commercial purposes, requires a careful understanding of all relevant regulations. If you are ready to add more trailers to your fleet, talk to your trusted partners at Transwest. We are here to assist you with purchasing and leasing trailers in Kansas City and other locations across the US.

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