I've been researching this since hearing about it via RVBusiness.com last week. This morning I spoke with a representative of the Texas DMV, and this afternoon I received some documentation from him via e-mail. This is what I'll be sending out in our newsletter later this week.
(NOTE: The following article is reprinted with
permission from RVBusiness.com.
Owners of some of almost 600,000 travel trailers, boat trailers and utility trailers registered with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles will get a surprise when they next receive notice that it's time to renew that annual trailer registration. According to a report by the Houston Chronicle, some will learn they have been violating a law of which many were not aware.
Included in renewal notices sent to owners of trailers with registration expiring this month and later will be notification that the trailer is required to have passed a safety inspection at a state-certified vehicle inspection station within 90 days prior to the new registration sticker's being issued. No proof of safety inspection, no renewal of registration.
This will be the first time many owners learn their trailer falls under Texas' annual safety inspection requirements, the same as most vehicles used on Texas public roads.
"Some trailer owners haven't been aware of the safety inspection requirement," said Candy Southerland, management analyst with Texas DMV . "I've even talked with trailer dealers who were surprised when they learned certain trailers fall under the inspection requirements."
Texas law has for decades required annual safety inspection of trailers with a gross weight (weight of the trailer plus its carrying capacity or actual load) of more than 4,500 pounds. That includes travel trailers, most dual-axle boat trailers, and many larger utility trailers such as those hunters use to haul tractors, ATVs, blinds and other equipment to hunting leases.
But because Texas' vehicle safety inspection process was separate from the vehicle registration process, vehicle owners could renew either without proof of complying with the other. And while Texans have been almost universally aware of the requirement of getting an annual safety inspection of their car, truck or motorcycle, many were unaware of the requirement for their trailers.
For the full story go to the Houston Chronicle
The following information was not included in the Houston Chronicle story, but was obtained from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. There are exemptions to the inspection rules, including for "seasonal Texans and RVers. According to the TxDMV website:
If your vehicle is out of state and you are unable to complete a Texas vehicle inspection in order to renew your registration, you will be able to self-certify that the vehicle is out of state and will be permitted to register. The self-certification process will be limited to:
- Active duty military
- Full-time students
- Seasonal Texans, RV'ers
- Apportioned vehicles
- Elected Congressional officials
You will be able to renew your registration using self-certification online, by mail or in-person. Please contact your county tax office for more information about their requirements for out-of-state registration renewal. To find the contact information for your county of residence, please visit the TxDMV website at Texas DMV: County Assessors
If you renew your vehicle registration using the out-of-state self-certification option, a remark will be placed on your vehicle record indicating that an inspection is still due. Once you return to the state, you must complete a Texas vehicle inspection within three days of arrival at your home, duty station, or destination. It is very important that you keep the VIR issued after completing your inspection in case you are stopped by law enforcement before the remark is removed from your vehicle record, which takes about 48 hours.
The remark will only be removed upon payment of the state's portion of the inspection fee and verification of a current, passing inspection.
For official information from the Texas DMV, visit their informational website, Texas DMV: Two Steps One Sticker