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Ask A Trooper: What is the length limit for loads off the rear of a pick-up?

Question: I have a short box pick-up. 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 pick-up?

Answer: In your situation where you have two 12-foot aluminum boats in the box of a seven-foot pickup, you would be legal if you attached a yellow, red or orange flag during daytime hours and red lights during reduced visibility or nighttime hours.

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 four 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 six 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.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow — Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at,