BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - We are nearing the end of the summer, but there's still plenty of time for outdoor chores and activities in South Louisiana. But you might want to make sure your utility trailer is up to state standards before you haul your lawn mower or boat across town.
Boat launches are packed these days with people enjoying Louisiana's waterways. What some may forget, there are laws in place regarding the trailers used to pull their boats.
"It's much like a vehicle inspection. People have to get their trailers---like boat trailers, utility trailers--they need to be inspected and registered as well," said Jared Sandifer, State Police spokesperson.
State law requires you to have your trailer inspected and registered every other year to make sure it's up to safety standards. Sandifer says while you will get a ticket if you don't have the proper documentation on your trailer, he says--- contrary to Internet rumors---law enforcement agents are not hunting down those who aren't complying.
"Regardless, it is a law. You have to have your trailer inspected," said Sandifer. "As far as the widespread crackdown on it...that's not true."
While some boaters say they feel blind-sided by these laws, those who boat in the Atchafalaya River near Butte La Rose say they should not because these trailer requirements are nothing new.
"That old saying, 'ignorance to the law is no excuse'," said Coerte Voorhies, an Atchafalaya River boater.
Voorhies says he and his son make sure they stay up to date on state requirements. He says that's not only to avoid a ticket, but also because he knows just how dangerous trailers can be.
"I've had one of these black rails completely come off on the highway one day," said Voorhies. "Thank God it was on the outside. It didn't hit the traffic. And I've seen trailers sling a wheel because people don't grease them."
"We've seen trailers cause crashes...cause fatal crashes in fact. So it's something that we ask people to do," said Sandifer.
Sandifer says the penalties for not having inspection or registration tags for your trailer are similar to the penalties for not having them on your car.
We're told you can get your trailer inspected or registered at any official Louisiana motor vehicle inspection location.