Truck lift kits, squatted trucks, safety issues

Joined
Dec 19, 2012
Messages
391
Location
Carolinas
I live in a state where trucks are allowed to squat. Meaning the front suspension is jacked up a foot or more, and the rear lowered. Most times the driver's seat is moved all the way forward and the backrest tilted forward quite a bit, and if there is a seat height adjustment, the seat is raised to its limit. It still appears to me that forward visibility is compromised. Trucks that are lifted on all 4 corners probably have a better forward view than squatted ones, but I still find that the ability to judge the distance between the truck and the vehicle in front of the truck is compromised (I've been a passenger in a lifted truck). I do not understand why there aren't regulations on lifting and squatting. As I understand it, European height sportscars are not allowed to be sold in the US with the European suspension (DOT rules?), and the cars need to sit on an additional 2 inches or so (which means business for aftermarket suspension kits).
 
According to Google headlights must be between 24-54in off the ground. It's easy to regulate that with factory-made vehicles but once it's in the hands of a customer, anything goes depending on the enforcement of that law.
 
Leveled trucks are fairly common here, where you only lift the front to make it sit level... until you use the truck to do truck things like haul heavy in the bed or tow a trailer. Then they look like this
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I live in a state where trucks are allowed to squat. Meaning the front suspension is jacked up a foot or more, and the rear lowered. Most times the driver's seat is moved all the way forward and the backrest tilted forward quite a bit, and if there is a seat height adjustment, the seat is raised to its limit. It still appears to me that forward visibility is compromised. Trucks that are lifted on all 4 corners probably have a better forward view than squatted ones, but I still find that the ability to judge the distance between the truck and the vehicle in front of the truck is compromised (I've been a passenger in a lifted truck). I do not understand why there aren't regulations on lifting and squatting. As I understand it, European height sportscars are not allowed to be sold in the US with the European suspension (DOT rules?), and the cars need to sit on an additional 2 inches or so (which means business for aftermarket suspension kits).
I thought the "Carolina Squat" was outlawed in NC/SC?

In any case the DOT has min-max heights for bumpers (16"-20") of passenger cars (Cars, Trucks, SUV). In any case enforcement is rare for these types of things because those who are most likely affected have an attitude of "rules for thee...but not for me" and yet are avid supporters of LEO community.
 
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I read the linked article and was surprised at the absence of data on crashes, braking distance changes and visibility.
You'd like to think a state would "let their motorists be free" until there was data to drive (pun intended) the legislative efforts....then bring the hammer down effectively where needed.
 
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I drive a 1990 Miata and it is a TINY car compared to a truck, and I've always had thoughts about when a lifted truck will roll over me because they can't see over the hood. I've looked at my rear view mirror and the front axles are visible in the mirror.
 
I thought the "Carolina Squat" was outlawed in NC/SC?
Not outlawed in South Carolina. I see an occasional squatted one with NC tags.
I've wondered why the police would not crack down on vehicles that run those LED bars that light up the road like stadium lights.
 
It's a slippery slope. I'm generally not in favor of more laws.

I'd rather see law enforcement crack down on sketchy loads: straps run to sheetmetal fenders, vehicles and SxSs not properly strapped, etc

Finally, rather than a blanket law it would be nice to simply empower LEOs to stop and ticket based upon their judgment of unsafe on a case-by-case basis. There would then need to be a process for "the accused" to defend themselves.

Get a ticket for cords showing on tires? Well maybe if you can get a signed letter from two ASE certified shops that it's actually safe, you're clear.

Get a ticket for excessive "squat"? Perhaps all states should have the ability to perform "stability" tests like NJ does -- or did. I'm not sure Jersey actually called it a stability test??

But I still maintain these should not be mandatory for every vehicle (then they're just punitive revenue grabs), only case-by-case when something is called into question. What do we do when we question something? PROVE IT -- one way or the other.

This might also require LEOs to be a bit more knowledgeable on vehicles, which I think would be a good thing. If you're enforcing motor vehicle laws you should know the BASICS of motor vehicle mechanics 101. Sorry, not sorry.

I could look at a homebrew suspension lift and tell you in 15 seconds if it's "meh ok" or a death trap.

I would never dream of trying to make decisions on, say, a medical board when I know so little about medicine.
 
I see trucks like that around here sometimes. Not as much as a year ago. I too am leery of more restrictions on liberties. Trying to legislate stupidity out of human nature is a fool's errand.
 
I'm not in favor of more laws either. Idiot proof something and they just invent a better idiot. I don't know how you could anything out the windshield other than sky and hood on this chromosomobile
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I see trucks like that around here sometimes. Not as much as a year ago. I too am leery of more restrictions on liberties. Trying to legislate stupidity out of human nature is a fool's errand.
It's not legislating stupidity out - its legislating safety. There are some pretty huge safety issues with this. Even still, stupid hurts, and it should.
 
While I am usually in the camp of letting people do what they want to with their own property - When it comes to vehicles on the road there should be regulations about lifts/lift kits. Moving the bumper of the vehicle too high potentially moves it out of the safety cell of other vehicles. There aren't just trucks rolling around. A lifted pickup truck who t-bones a car might very easily hit the car in the side windows instead of the much stronger crash structures within the door itself.

Not to mention the instability that results when you take a vehicle with an already high center of gravity and make it higher. Systems like stability control might not be able to properly make corrections when the vehicle is rolling more than expected due to the higher center of gravity.

At the beginning of last month I was T-Boned by a 1998 Silverado at stock ride height after another driver crossed in front of the pickup truck without looking. Had this been a lifted pickup or one where the crash structure was raised, the impact could've very well been in my window instead of the door itself.


When everyone follows the regulations, everyone is rendered safer.

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