§ 31-25-6. Maximum number and length of coupled vehicles.
(a) No combination of vehicles coupled together shall consist of more than three (3) units, a truck-tractor, semi-trailer, and trailer. The combination of vehicles shall not be restricted in overall length, except that when a truck-tractor, semi-trailer, and a trailer are used in combination, the trailer or semi-trailer each shall not exceed twenty-eight and one-half feet (28' 6"), excluding bumpers and accessories. Provided, however, that combinations of vehicles consisting of three (3) units shall be permitted to operate only on the interstate highway system and on those highways, streets, and roads designated by the director of the department of transportation.
(b) Combinations of vehicles consisting of truck-tractor and semi-trailer coupled together shall not be restricted in overall length, and semi-trailers shall not exceed fifty-three feet (53') in length, excluding bumpers and accessories. Semi-trailers exceeding forty-eight and one-half feet (48' 6") shall be permitted to operate only on the interstate highway system and on those highways, streets and roads designated by the director of the department of transportation. Exceptions to the requirements of this section include the use of a pole trailer and combinations designed to transport motor vehicles and/or automobiles as authorized in §§ 31-25-7 and 31-25-8. The provision that no combination of vehicles coupled together shall consist of more than three (3) units shall not apply to vehicles coupled together by a saddle mount device used to transport motor vehicles in a drive-away service when no more than three (3) saddle mounts are used, and equipment used in the combination is approved by Part 393.71 of the federal motor carrier safety regulations, 49 CFR 393.71, and safety regulations of the division of motor vehicles of the department of revenue of the state of Rhode Island as such federal and/or state legislation may be amended or revised from time to time. Any owner or operator found deviating from the approval permitted routes shall be fined a minimum mandatory fine of five hundred dollars ($500), but not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).
(c) The distance from the kingpin of the trailer to the center of the rear axle may not exceed forty-one feet (41').
(d) Fifty-three foot (53') trailers shall be equipped with a rear end protection device of substantial construction consisting of a continuous lateral beam extending to within four inches (4") of the lateral extremities of the trailer, and located not more than twenty-two inches (22") from the surface of the road as measured with the vehicle empty and on level surface.
(e) Violations of this section are subject to fines enumerated in § 31-41.1-4.
(P.L. 1950, ch. 2595, art. 35, § 3; G.L. 1956, § 31-25-6; P.L. 1965, ch. 52, § 2; P.L. 1981, ch. 27, § 1; P.L. 1983, ch. 213, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 391, § 1; P.L. 1995, ch. 127, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 86, § 86; P.L. 2002, ch. 292, § 122; P.L. 2005, ch. 77, § 6; P.L. 2005, ch. 82, § 6; P.L. 2008, ch. 98, § 22; P.L. 2008, ch. 145, § 22.)