Snow plow hitching mechanism advisory

Removal of certain snow plow hitching mechanisms is required in Massachusetts between May 15th and October 15th.

MGL Chapter 90, Section 19K passed after many crashes caused by plows and hitching mechanisms during warm weather months. The resulting property damage, serious injuries, and fatalities could have been avoided by removing the plow and hitching mechanism.

Vehicles equipped with a plow (unless exempt) must have the plow and hitching mechanism removed between May 15 and October 15. The hitching mechanism includes the lift cylinder and lift arm. (The lift cylinder is the hydraulic cylinder that raises and lowers the lift arm. The lift arm supports the plow blade).

Penalties

For operating a vehicle in violation of this act:

  • 1st offense: a warning
  • 2nd offense: $250 fine
  • 3rd offense: $500 fine and revocation of the registration. The registration will not be reinstated until the vehicle is in compliance. A reinstatement fee will apply

Exempted hitching mechanisms

  • Only the plow must be removed if the vehicle has an apparatus that allows the hitch to fold flat. The hitching mechanism must be in the folded flat position while the vehicle is in operation.
  • Hitching mechanisms permanently affixed through welding or other means before July 1, 2004 (the date of enactment). Permanently affixing a hitching mechanism after that date is not allowed. A violation is subject to fine and revocation of registration.

Exempted vehicles

This act does not apply to:

  • Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds
  • State, county or municipally owned or operated vehicles

Snow between May 15 and October 15

If it snows before October 15 or after May 15, vehicles may re-equip with the plow and any apparatus necessary for clearing snow. Remove all plows and apparatus within 72 hours of the conclusion of the snowfall to follow the law.

Questions

Contact Vehicle Safety & Compliance Services at (857) 368-8130.

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