If you live in North Carolina you should be more than concerned if you own any modified vehicle. Especially if you drive a squat truck because now the state can take your driver’s license away from you. The state has added yet another wrinkle in its zeal to ban any vehicle with modifications it doesn’t like.
We covered North Carolina banning squat trucks earlier in the year. Set to become law in December, the bill (House Bill 692) includes language that says if an owner ignores the ban, he or she can lose their driving privileges. If cited three times in one year, you’re cooked.
What modified vehicles besides squat trucks does this law apply to?
In general, the law will apply to vehicles that are both raised in the front and lowered in the rear. So technically, it can apply to lowriders and also 1960s drag racing gassers. At least lowriders have the advantage of leveling their cars through either hydraulics or air suspensions.
Originally, the North Carolina vehicle code stated a vehicle could not be raised or lowered more than six inches from stock. Now that provision has been changed. The front fenders can’t be more than four inches higher than the rear fenders.
Since this applies to “modified chassis, suspension, or frames,” that leaves the door open for further tweaks that could take in more vehicles. That is the problem with legislation like this. It starts focusing on a single genre of vehicle, but can actually apply to any vehicle that comes close to approaching the specified numbers.
The banned squat truck owner’s suspended license could be in effect for years
As for the license suspension, that can stay in effect for “not less than one year.” So with that wording, you could lose your license for two years or many more. It is open-ended just enough to give maximum leeway in what your punishment will be.
What hasn’t exactly helped is that there were two dueling petitions. One petition got 70,000 people to sign to make squat trucks illegal. Another 23,000 signed a petition that is against the legislation.
The petition for making it illegal included the specious; “All drivers usually cut off their catalytic converters.” That statement should have killed the petition before the first signature. It also stated that raised front end “causes a side collision to flip a passenger car or truck.”
The petition in favor of the ban contained some specious claims
Yet, another claim said that a squat truck’s “braking power is worse.” We get that pedestrian visibility can be impaired, but these other “reasons” are ridiculous. It would have been helpful to have actual evidence of owners cutting off their cats and stats on how many pedestrians have been struck by a squat truck.
Obviously, this had a lot of momentum by lawmakers greasing the skids. Now, it could become a problem for more than squat trucks. One of the few ways we see owners getting around the law is to install an air suspension that either lowers the front or raises the rear. Depending, of course, on which is easier to install and quicker to implement.
Not that we are promoting breaking the law. It is only being offered as a possibility we could see cropping up. But we will also offer that with very minor tweaks, this legislation could easily apply to lifted 4 x 4s and lowered Porsches, just to name two.
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