DOT Regulations on brakes for Drive-Away

Have you read a Federal Government Regulation lately? Did you have to read it more than once? Probably had to comb your hair afterwards with all the head scratching you did.

The Federal Motor Carriers regulations on the subject of brakes in the Drive-Away industry is referenced only for decking operations. The regulation that applies to us in the “Tow-Bar” category, as we are classified” is at the top of the regulation. ALL wheels will have brakes. This means that all the wheels on the ground MUST have brakes.

Pennsylvania and Connecticut DOT officials will spot check Drive-Away setups by listening to the brakes being applied on all axles on the ground during an inspection. Not having brakes on the towed truck results in a fine of $300 in Pennsylvania and $650 in Connecticut. Plus the driver HAS to correct the situation before they can continue driving.

Pennsylvania has a further requirement of “Singles” drivers that pull their personal vehicle behind a truck. The personal vehicle MUST have braking capabilities as well. In Pennsylvania, additionally, the crossed chains listed in the DOT Regulations is not enough. Your towed vehicle MUST have a “self contained breakaway brake application device”. In 2000 Joe can personally attest the fine is $350. This was after three weeks of research by the Highway Patrol officer who then decided he should issue a ticket, and did so by mail.

The truck I am towing today is a 2012 International. This truck requires the use of a “Crossover Yoke” for the brake setup.


The Crossover Yoke consists of two air line hoses connected to a “Reducer Valve” which enables the blast of air surging through the hoses to not blow up the brake pods. That is my definition anyway.

This device is applied directly to the air chambers of the brake pods.


The tools needed for this application are a 2 – 7/8 open ended wrenches. I have one and I need a crescent wrench as the other. Some applications a 7/8 and 3/4 open ended wrench are necessary.

Also necessary, in the International application, are “Bullets” to facilitate the connection of the crossover yoke to the brake pod lines.



The 7/8 wrench is used to remove the brake line from the truck’s frame assembly.



Attach, and tighten, the bullet to the brake’s air line.



The crossover yoke is mounted over the engine. The shorter hose of the yoke is secured on the passenger side of the engine. The longer hose of the yoke is tossed over the engine to the other side.


The short yoke hose is connected to the bullet which completes the application on one side.


Going to the driver side of the engine the process is duplicated.





Having applied the crossover yoke to the brake pods (chambers) the air supply line is fed through the engine compartment then attached to the reducer valve.



Brake setup on the towed truck is complete. Man, took me longer to set this into words and pictures than it actually takes to do the job.

Joe’s back truck took about 30 seconds to do.


Enough for today.

About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

3 responses to “DOT Regulations on brakes for Drive-Away

  • gardenpinks

    Leslie thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving lots of encouraging and lovely comments. I appreciate you so much. Hope the crafting mojo does come slinking back into your life again soon.
    Love and hugs
    Lynn xxx

  • Lee

    Great blog you have, especially on the drive-away stuff. This posting got my attention particularly because of the braking issue, I drive singles pulling my toad using a pinch hitch and been trying to find some way to have my toad apply it’s brakes as well. Most of the stuff I’ve found on proportional braking has to do with RV’s and are permanent. Of course that won’t work for the stuff we do. So I was wondering if you guys knew of anything else. I’m always trying to find things that make this job safer (along with less cost and quicker), but safety first. Even though I haven’t had any slips with the hitch, there are those very rare times when I have to hit the brakes and sit there wondering if it’s all going to be okay.

    Thanks Lee

    • Message In A Fold

      Thank you, Lee. It is good to hear from a fellow Drive-Away driver.

      Joe would be the one to talk to you about this subject. Shoot him an e-mail to “”. If you want to chat with him let him know and he would be happy to bend your ear.

      Joe tells me he knows of two solutions to your problem. There will probably be more once he finds out all the particulars of your “toad”. Make, model, engine, four wheel drive or not, transmission type. Pretty much all the same stuff you get asked at the auto parts store just to buy some dang wipers :/

      Once again, thanks for leaving a comment. I appreciate you.


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