Ask a Trooper: How far can hauled items extend past bumper?

Published 8:32 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Ask a Trooper by Troy Christianson

Troy Christianson


Question: I have a short box pickup. A friend wanted me to carry two 12-foot aluminum boats he had purchased. Being as they would have extended far past my 7-foot or less truck bed, I declined, thinking it was too long to be legal. Was I correct? What is the length limit for loads off the rear of a pickup?

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Answer: According to Minnesota state law, no single vehicle may exceed 45 feet in overall length, including load and front and rear bumpers. There is an exception for mobile cranes, which may not exceed 48 feet in overall length. If the items extend to the rear 4 feet or more beyond the bed or body of the vehicle, a red, yellow or orange flag or cloth not less than 16 inches square is required in daylight hours. During nighttime hours or reduced visibility, projecting cargo needs a lighted red lamp(s), in addition to the vehicle’s rear lights.

Anything that is sticking over the left side of the vehicle beyond the line of the fender, and anything more than 6 inches beyond the line of the fenders on the right side is illegal in Minnesota.

Remember that no vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless its load is secure. Please make sure that whatever you are hauling is tied or strapped down so it will not shift over the sides or rear of the vehicle within the legal limits or fall onto the road.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober.  Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901-5848; or reach him at

Troy Christianson is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.