Drive any road in Texas and you're bound to see a truck with a tow hitch in place but not towing a trailer, it's a common sight that Texans don't think twice about, but out-of-staters take notice!

Here at the station today we had some corporate folk in from New York city for some meetings. While catching a movie last night, one of them noticed something about some trucks parked in the movie theater parking lot -- they had tow hitches on them and they weren't towing anything. For some reason that caught their attention, but to us it's a normal thing. I even drive around with a tow hitch on my truck and rarely am I towing anything! I have it there I guess just in case I needed it.

This topic came up at lunch and I had no idea that in some states it is illegal to leave a tow hitch in place when you are not towing a trailer. Our corporate friend said he has a tow hook for his SUV, but when he's not towing anything the hitch with the ball is in the back of the vehicle and he has a receiver cover with a logo in its place.

So I did a quick little Google search and found out the following:

  • Texas - not illegal as long as it doesn't block the license plate
  • Minnesota - not illegal
  • Illinois - not illegal as long as it doesn't extend 4" beyond bumper
  • California - against the law - a trailer must be attached
  • Massachusettes - against the law according to one forum

While removing the hitch and ball might save some people from scraping their shin while walking too close between two parked vehicles, at the same time I'm saving my tailgate and bumper from accidentally being bumped into in a parking lot or while at a red light!