Virginia Senate Fast-Tracking Ban on ‘Carolina Squat’

squated red truck

Virginia legislators are fast-tracking State Senator Mark Peake’s (R-Lynchburg) new bill to ban a type of vehicle modification called the “Carolina Squat.” Trucks with the modification have their front end dramatically higher than the back. In February, a driver in a similarly-modified truck allegedly killed a man in Mecklenberg County, according to ABC8.

“He was coming up a hill, he couldn’t see the double-yellow line,” Peake told The Virginia Star this week. “He crosses over and smashes into another vehicle head-on, destroyed it, and killed the guy.”

Law enforcement told Peake that under current laws, “Carolina squat” modifications aren’t a reason for officers to pull a vehicle over.

On Tuesday, Peake introduced SB 777, which adds the modification to a list of already-outlawed suspension modifications. It’s unusual to introduce a bill this late into the session, set to end March 12, but the Senate approved his last-minute addition.

“No passenger car or pickup or panel truck shall be operated on a public highway if the suspension, frame, or chassis has been modified by any means so as to cause the height of the front bumper to be four or more inches greater than the height of the rear bumper,” the latest draft of Peake’s bill states.

Other states have already passed similar laws; Peake said he thinks the modification is spreading.

In a Thursday Senate Transportation Committee meeting, State Police Association spokesperson Wayne Huggins spoke in favor of the bill.

“Imagine if you would, you come out of your house one morning and the hood of your car is open. Would you get in the car and drive it down the road without closing the hood? That image is exactly what these vehicles look like going down the road,” he said.

“They look like they’re getting ready to propel themselves off into space. I can’t imagine why anyone would expose themselves and the motoring public to such danger,” Huggins said.

As part of their broad criminal justice reform efforts, Virginia Democrats have downgraded many vehicle-related offenses so that officers can’t use that as an excuse to pull someone over, a practice called a pretextual stop. Peake was concerned that Democrats would misinterpret his bill as an effort to erode their changes and told The Star that that’s not his intention.

Senate Democrats seem to agree that there’s a need for the bill. State Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) is one of the original cosponsors. The Democrat-controlled Transportation Committee advanced the bill in a unanimous vote, and added an emergency clause that will make it take effect as soon as it is signed by Governor Glenn Youngkin.

The Senate needs to quickly pass the bill so that there is time for the House of Delegates to hear it before the session ends.

– – –

Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Carolina Squated truck” by lifted_leanin_squatted.


Related posts