Governor Glenn Youngkin signed a ban on the Carolina Squat vehicle modification while visiting Lynchburg on Monday. State Senator Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg) pushed the bill through the General Assembly at the last minute after a driver in a truck with the modification hit and killed Jody ‘BJ’ Upton Jr. in February.
“I’m honored today to be here with BJ’s family, the public servants who acted quickly to move legislation to my desk to address the problem, and the law enforcement heroes who will enforce this new law and keep our roads and highways safer,” Youngkin said in a press release. “Nothing can bring BJ back, but with faith, time, and love, we can begin to heal from the pain of losing him. But the spirit of Virginia is strong, and when Virginians see a problem they come together and act.”
The bill outlaws driving a vehicle on public highways if modifications raise the front bumper four or more inches higher than the rear bumper. It also includes an emergency clause to make the bill take effect as soon as Youngkin’s signature is enrolled in the Acts of Assembly. Earlier in March, Peake told The Virginia Star
that the bill is important to allow law enforcement to pull over vehicles with the modification, something they couldn’t do under existing law.
“The suspension modifications change the function and handling of the vehicles. If the front end of the vehicle is higher than the rear end, the headlights are pointed towards the sky instead of illuminating the road ahead. The truck being angled compromises the driver’s view and alters the dispersion of mechanical force in the event of a collision,” Youngkin’s release states.
In Youngkin’s press release, Peake said, “On February 16, a Virginian, BJ Upton, lost his life in a tragic car accident. Today, joined by members of BJ Upton’s family, my colleagues in the General Assembly, and law enforcement leaders, we took a critical step forward to prevent any further lives being lost at the hands of this dangerous truck modification. I am honored to have carried this bill and am grateful to Governor Youngkin and my colleagues for coming together in support of this important legislation.”