Is It Illegal to Hang Balls From Your Pickup Truck Trailer Hitch?
So you were sitting in traffic the other day and saw something odd hanging from the rear bumper of a pickup truck. You got closer and realized it was a giant, lifelike scrotum, complete with a pair of balls. You thought, Gross! There’s no way that can be legal out in public! But the truth is that there is no federal law against these “trailer hitch nuts” or “bull balls.” States have proposed laws banning them, but none have passed. Some towns have outlawed them and ticketed offending drivers, but none of these tickets hold up in higher courts: hanging balls from your pickup truck trailer hitch is legally protected as a form of speech. But the two major trailer hitch balls manufacturers (yup, they come in pairs) are facing multiple copyright lawsuits and cease-and-desist orders from…each other. It seems that the potent trailer hitch balls industry’s worst enemy is itself.
Are truck nuts illegal?
Truck nuts, bull balls, whatever you call them, multiple states have attempted to ban them. But at the time of this writing, none of those laws have passed. Some municipalities have written local ordinances banning truck nuts, but their residents have had luck fighting for their right to display bull balls.
So far, just the states of Maryland, Florida, and Virginia have proposed making truck balls illegal. Maryland was the first, when state legislator LeRoy E. Myers Jr. proposed banning bull balls/truck nuts. His law would ban, “displaying anything resembling or depicting ‘anatomically correct’ or ‘less than completely and opaquely covered’ human or animal genitals, human buttocks or female breasts.” Why? Because he felt fake testicles are “vulgar and immoral.” And he claimed he’d had a constituent complain. But the legislator did not vote to pass his ban.
The ill feelings toward bull balls on trucks spread across the Potomac and in 2008, Virginia delegate Lionell Spruill proposed Bill HB 1452. This specified that vehicles couldn’t display devices resembling human genitalia. It’s unclear if this law applied to the “bull balls” brand, which you could argue has nothing to do with “human” genitalia. But it didn’t matter; his law didn’t pass.
Finally, Florida’s state Senate actually voted for a $60 fine for motorists displaying truck nuts in 2008. Then, the measure went to Florida’s state House of Representatives, where it was voted down.
That’s right, more states banned squatted trucks than bull balls. But that didn’t stop one police officer from giving a 65-year-old woman a $445 ticket for the truck nuts on her rig.
Can you get a ticket for truck balls?
No state has outlawed truck nuts/bull balls, but some towns and cities have passed ordinances against them and ticketed drivers. One example is Virginia Tice of Bonneau, South Carolina, who chose to fight her $445 truck nuts ticket.
Franco Fuda is the police chief of Bonneau, a 424-person town in Berkeley County, South Carolina. He told Live 5 News, “Genitalia is offensive…As a law enforcement officer, I’ll advise that person if it warrants a citation I’ll issue a citation. As a father, I wouldn’t want my daughter looking at it.”
The citation Fuda refers to is a South Carolina law against “a sticker, decal or emblem is indecent when it describes, in a patently offensive way… sexual acts, excretory functions or parts of the human body.” And he used this law to hit 65-year-old driver Virginia Tice with a $445 ticket because she had red plastic bull balls hanging from her truck.
Tice retained attorney Scott Bischoff to fight the ticket. Bischoff told the ABA Journal, “She’s such a sweet lady and she just says ‘I don’t want to pay the fine.’ We’ll let a jury decide whether this is really criminal behavior. I don’t want to take away from the importance of free speech, but it’s really comical.”
The state of South Carolina has delayed Tice’s jury trial at least three times.
Who invented truck balls?
David Ham (founder of Truck Nuts) and John D. Saller (founder of Bull Balls) both claim they were the first to market with mass-produced balls to hang from truck trailer hitches. As a result, their competing companies were locked in a fierce legal battle for years.
Instead of just splitting the lucrative truck balls market, Ham and Saller were unable to leave one another alone for years. The two company founders both engaged in vicious mud-slinging campaigns, blogging about the other one using a series of fake names. In addition to attacking one another’s character and past, they hit each other with cease-and-desist letters.
Ham even visited Saller’s supplier, using the alias Bozzy Willis, attempting to buy and resell his version of Bull Balls and undercutting his competitor. He had to be escorted out of the factory.
Though both founders attempted to make it illegal for the other one to continue selling truck balls, none of these legal tactics stuck. So despite the truck balls industry’s own efforts, these accessories remain (mostly) legal to this day.
Next, find out whether it’s illegal for trucks to have spiked lug nuts, or learn all about the legal battle between the major truck balls companies: