Even though squatted pickup trucks got their start in desert racing out in California, they have become known as the “Carolina Squat.” The vehicles are also referred to as the “Tennessee Tilt” and the “Cali Lean.”
These vehicles are especially popular in vacation areas such as Myrtle Beach.
However, South Carolina has joined North Carolina and Virginia in banning these vehicles. Starting in 2024, drivers can get a ticket for driving these illegal vehicles. Repeated violations may even lead to a loss of license.
If you have been injured in an accident with any modified car or truck, contact Trey Harrell Auto Accident & Personal Injury Attorney to speak to a Charleston truck accident lawyer and fight for your legal rights.
Carolina Squats Are Very Dangerous Modifications to Trucks
The Carolina Squat is not necessarily a special make or design of truck.
Instead, it is a pickup truck that is altered or modified to raise the front of the car and lower the back. Here, there is more than a four-inch difference between the front and back fenders.
Drivers order these modifications for aesthetic purposes, as they certainly do not enhance safety in any way.
The Carolina Squat is considered part of the culture of Myrtle Beach. People often spend over $10,000 to modify the setup of their car. Numerous drivers will take pictures and videos of themselves driving these modified trucks down Ocean Boulevard. They want to be seen, and they will post these videos on social media.
Why Carolina Squats Are Dangerous
The problem with squatted trucks is that they impede a driver’s visibility from numerous angles. The raised front makes it more difficult for drivers to see what is in front of them on the road, especially pedestrians who are at a lower eye angle.
Many of the extreme modifications make it seem that the car is pointing upwards at the sky, changing the driver’s vantage point. Further, it is difficult for drivers to see out their back windows when they are going in reverse.
Other dangers associated with Carolina Squats include:
- The raised level of the truck means that the other car in the accident will not collide with a bumper
- A driver that rear-ends a squatted truck will also not collide with the bumper
- The driver cannot see what is below their eye level
- Other drivers are more at risk of a rollover accident with a squat truck
In addition, the modifications made to squatted trucks also affect the vehicle’s braking, suspension and steering. Part of the danger is that the suspension is modified to change the height of the car.
Braking is particularly important in avoiding pedestrian accidents. In crowded areas, drivers may not see pedestrians until the last second. Squatted truck drivers are already not seeing what other drivers see because of the design on the truck. In addition, they lose valuable braking time that they need to avoid striking something.
Squatted Trucks Can Cause Pedestrian Accidents
Squatted trucks have been associated with pedestrian accidents, as they are often used in places where more people are walking. In 2021, a pedestrian in Myrtle Beach was killed when they were struck by a squatted truck. As a result, Myrtle Beach officials began pushing for a ban on a statewide level.
Pedestrian accidents have already been a serious and growing problem, both in eastern South Carolina and throughout the state. As of this writing, there have already been 19 people struck by vehicles in North Myrtle Beach. The engineering and design of the roads, along with drivers who are careless and reckless, has already led to a spike in injuries.
Squatted Trucks Are Now Illegal in South Carolina
As of May 17, 2023, there is a law that will make it illegal to drive a squatted truck in South Carolina. The ban in the law took effect 180 days after Governor McMaster signed the bill into law.
The legal limit is that the front bumper of the car cannot be more than four inches higher than the back end. Drivers who already own Carolina Squats will either need to get rid of their vehicle or have their truck undergo a repair that reverts the modification.
If drivers have not already brought themselves in compliance with the law, they need to immediately because they are about to face potential legal consequences.
Penalties for being caught driving a Carolina Squat are as follows:
- $100 fine for the first violation
- $200 fine for the second violation
- A $300 fine for the third violation and a one-year driver’s license suspension
Carolina Squats Are Illegal in Two Other States
North Carolina also enacted a similar Carolina squat ban in December 2021.
The scope of the ban was similar — no more than a four-inch height difference between the front bumper and the rear bumper. The penalties in both bills are similar, as the third violation also leads to a license suspension.
Virginia also passed a ban in 2022 after a 27 year-old man was killed in an accident with a truck that had the Carolina Squat modification. As of now, these are the only three states that have banned Carolina Squats, but these are also jurisdictions where these heavily modified trucks are a part of the culture. It is unclear whether these bans will be enacted in other states in the near future.
Contact a Charleston, SC Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been injured in any car or truck accident, you may be entitled to substantial financial compensation. If you can prove that someone was breaking the law at the time of the accident, it could even be used as evidence towards their liability.
In order to start the legal process, you should contact an aggressive Charleston personal injury lawyer who can get the process started for you.
The team at Trey Harrell Auto Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer can work for you to get the highest possible settlement check for your damages. Contact us online or call us today at 843-636-8739 to request our help working for you.