State-by-State Guide to Driving in Campers

Know the Law Before You Go

car towing camper trailer
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Every state has different regulations for passengers driving in campers, RVs, and travel trailers, so before you hit the road you might want to learn about state-by-state regulations. Keep in mind that when you cross a state line the laws might change for driving campers and it is up to you to know and follow the law. When in doubt, check with local law enforcement agencies. 

What's the Difference?

Travel trailers, which can be mounted on standard cars, are more affordable than truck campers, they are more mobile than truck trailers, and there is a lot of variety among the travel trailers.

Truck campers, also called pickup campers, are mounted onto a pickup truck. These vehicles do not require another vehicle to pull them. These vehicles are one piece. Most states allow passengers to ride and them. And, of all the campers, it's maneuverability allows you to get in and out of places easier, and it usually does not take up a lot of space at home or in town. 

The fifth-wheel travel trailer can have the same amenities as the conventional travel trailer but is constructed with a raised forward section that provides a spacious bi-level floor plan. These models are designed to be towed by a pickup truck and are equipped with a device known as a fifth-wheel hitch.

State Regulations

Planning a road trip with your travel trailer, camper, or RV might be more difficult than you had originally planned if you intend to keep passengers in the camper as you drive. But do not let that stop you from going. Do your due diligence to find out the regulations for passengers and driving laws if you want to stay street-legal in all the states you will be traveling through.

Some regulations require an age requirement to ride in the camper, for example, in Hawaii, the passenger must be 13 or older to ride in a truck camper. In Kansas, passengers are permitted to ride in all three types of campers but must be 14 or older.

Some other stipulations may exist, like in Georgia, if you want to ride in the truck camper, it is allowed, but you must have easy access to the drive compartment. In several states, like California, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, there must be an easy way to have audible or visual communications with the driver.

The following list is a guide only. Laws change, so for the most updated information, consult the state motor vehicles department for the areas you plan to travel through.  

State-by-State Guide

State 5th Wheel Travel Trailer Truck Camper
Alabama No No

Yes

Alaska No No Yes
Arizona Yes Yes Yes
Arkansas No No No
California Yes* No Yes*
Colorado No No Yes
Connecticut No No Yes
Delaware No No Yes
Florida No No Yes
Georgia No No Yes
Hawaii No No Yes (over 13)
Idaho No No Yes
Illinois No No Yes
Indiana Yes Yes Yes
Iowa Yes Yes Yes
Kansas Yes (over 14) Yes (over 14) Yes (over 14)
Kentucky No No Yes
Louisiana No No Yes
Maine No No No
Maryland Yes Yes Yes
Massachusetts No No Yes
Michigan Yes Yes Yes
Minnesota Yes Yes Yes
Mississippi Yes Yes Yes
Missouri Yes Yes Yes
Montana Yes No Yes
Nebraska Yes Yes Yes
Nevada No No Yes
New Hampshire No No

No

New Jersey Yes No Yes
New Mexico No No Yes
New York Yes No Yes
North Carolina Yes Yes Yes
North Dakota Yes No Yes
Ohio No No Yes
Oklahoma No No Yes
Oregon Yes* No Yes
Pennsylvania Yes* No No
Rhode Island No No Yes
South Carolina Yes* No No
South Dakota Yes* No Yes
Tennessee Yes No Yes
Texas No No Yes
Utah No No Yes
Vermont No No Yes
Virginia No No Yes
Washington No No Yes
West Virginia Yes No Yes
Wisconsin Yes* No No
Wyoming No No Yes

* Communications are required between the driver and any passengers traveling in the camper.

Additional Things to Keep in Mind

In addition to laws about passengers, there are also laws about the lengths, widths, heights, speeds, brake, rear lights, and hitch requirements.

The state DMV will be the best source regarding the local laws, although, you can call your local AAA club or police enforcement for guidance, too. As a general rule, most states may restrict trailers that are wider than eight feet.

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