Mudflaps are one of the essential parts required in every truck for safety reasons but the question is, is a missing mudflap a DOT violation? Will you violate any rule when driving without a mudflap?
A missing mudflap is not a DOT violation because mudflap requirements are regulated by the state, therefore, the requirements differ from state to state. DOT does not regulate mudflap requirements.
A mudflap is a rubber sheet that hangs behind a wheel of a vehicle and stops mud, stones, and any flying dirt from hitting the vehicle or other vehicles.
Purpose of Mudflaps
Mudflaps are meant to catch dirt and mud that are kicked off the road from landing all over your vehicle. Imagine you are on the road and different specks of dirt and stones are hitting you from every car. That would be lots of injuries while working on the road.
Mudflaps also protect your car from debris while driving. Stones can affect the body of your car and repairing the body of a car is costly. So it is better to have mudflaps on your car. Therefore, is a missing mudflap a DOT violation?
What is a DOT?
The full meaning of DOT is the Department of Transportation. This department is an executive department of the US Federal government. It was established on October 15, 1966.
This department plans and coordinates federal transportation projects. It sets safety regulations for the modes of transportation in the country.
The DOT has various agencies: Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and many more.
Does DOT Require a Mudflap?
The DOT has various agencies that regular different aspects of transportation. The DOT does not regulate mudflaps rather, the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) mandated that trucks should install mudflaps at 300 mm and angles greater than 22 degrees.
As reiterated earlier, each state has its mudflap requirements. Some may insist you install mudflaps on the rear of the vehicle that is able to keep dirt and debris tossed up by the tires from hitting vehicles and passengers on the road.
Is a Missing Mudflap a DOT Violation?
A missing mudflap is not directly a DOT violation. The states regulate mudflap. So having a missing mudflap is violating the state’s law. Even having the wrong size of mudflap also means that you have broken the rules of the state. Therefore, ensure you always have your mudflap installed.
You can be issued a ticket if you drive without a mudflap but this differs from state to state.
Does DOT Require a Front Mudflap?
DOT does not require front mudflaps. Those are determined by the state you registered your vehicle.
In states like Texas, Arizona, Delaware, and Missouri, your mudflaps should not be more than 8 inches from the ground. In Alaska, your mudflap should hang 14 inches from the surface of the ground.
In Maryland, the length of the mudflap of your truck should be the same as the width of the tire. In New York, your mudflap should not be more than 1/3 of the distance from where the bottom of the mud flap makes contact with the back wheel.
Is it Illegal to Not Have Mudflap?
It is illegal not to have mudflaps when driving. Mudflaps are essential equipment for your vehicle. The requirements of the mudflaps are stated in the laws of the states.
If your vehicle doesn’t have mudflaps, you will be stopped and fined. To avoid getting tickets, buy mudflaps when your vehicle doesn’t come with one.
DOT Regulations on Mudflaps
Since mudflap requirements are not regulated by the Department of Transportation, there are no regulations. But below are the regulations guiding the use of mudflaps.
- FMCSA recommends that mud flaps should be mounted at 300 mm and angles greater than 22 degrees.
Some states provide specific requirements, and these requirements should be followed by the vehicles and trucks in that state.
- In Alaska, the mudflap must extend downward to a distance of 14 inches from the ground, as measured when the vehicle is standing over level ground.
- In Mississippi, without the mudflap, you would be fined $25 or imprisonment not more than 10 days on the first arrest. If you are arrested again, you will be fined $100 or imprisonment for not more than 20 days.
Mudflaps Rules by Some States
One nearly universal rule is that mudflaps should not be more than ten inches from the ground no matter the distance of mudflaps to the center of the wheel.
Many states like Texas have height restrictions that are under ten inches.
States like Michigan prohibit the use of any kind of light or reflector on the mudflap. Whatever can be broken when the mud flap comes off is prohibited.
Rubber accent pieces are permitted also. You have to be familiar with the rules in your state to know if lights are allowed on the mudflaps.
If you are confused about installing the mudflaps yourself, you can take them to a mechanic or panel beater to help you with the installation. They are in the perfect position to install the mudflaps the right way they should.
Mudflaps are meant to stop debris that is on the road from hitting your vehicle, pedestrians, and the vehicles behind you in the traffic. But there are vehicles that don’t come with mudflaps.
If you are about to buy a vehicle, check if there are mudflaps. Don’t believe the seller when they try to convince you that mudflaps do not matter; they really do.
Don’t let ignorance allow you to be penalized. Mudflaps are affordable so you can buy them if your vehicle doesn’t have them. But as you are buying, follow the requirements of your state.