Thanks to the efforts of a trailer supplier and two rental companies, Maryland has removed limitations on the use of surge brakes on commercial and recreational use trailers. The new law – House Bill #551 – passed the Senate and House unanimously and was signed into law by Maryland’s governor, Robert Ehrlich.
The law allows surge brakes on trailers with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less. The size of the towing vehicle is also factored into the legal use of the trailer as the trailer GVWR cannot be more than 1.5 times the truck GVWR. The law, which takes effect October 1, applies to all surge brake trailers, commercial and non-commercial.
John Doran Jr., CEO of Centreville Manufacturing, Centreville, Md.; Pat Rooney and Lee Lightner of ABC Rental, Catonsville, Md., spearheaded the bill, which was supported by other rental companies and equipment distributors and marine-related businesses.
“It used to be that if a trailer went into Maryland, they’d slap the operator with a more than $500 fine just because of the surge brakes and then impound the vehicle, forcing the company to pick up the vehicle with a tow truck,” Doran told RER. “We worked very hard and spent a lot of time and money to have those restrictions removed.”