North Carolina House Passes Bill to Ban Squatted Trucks
The Carolina Squat, the Cali Lean, the Tennessee Tilt—whatever you call it, lawmakers want trucks like these off the road.
An auto enthusiast's worst enemy is often legislation. Whether it be modifying a project car, repairing a broken vehicle, or buying a new daily driver, the ever-changing word of law can prove to be challenging for car and truck lovers.
Now, legislators in North Carolina have set their sights on a controversial automotive trend growing in popularity: the Carolina Squat. A bill passed by the state's House of Representatives and sent to its Senate would modify the vehicle code to specifically ban suspension modifications that both raise the front-end of the vehicle and lower the rear—the key signature of a squatted truck.
"A private passenger automobile shall not be modified or altered by elevating the automobile more than 3 inches from the manufacturer's specified height in the front and lowering the automobile more than 2 inches from the manufacturer's specified height in the rear."
Love it or hate it, the purpose of the bill is clearly aimed at doing away with squatted trucks. No matter what name it goes by—the Carolina Squat, the Cali Lean, and the Tennessee Tilt to name just a few—the premise of the suspension modification is the same. In each case, the vehicle's front end is raised while the rear-end is either lowered or left at factory ride height, giving the truck a leaned-back look.
This goes beyond just installing a leveling kit to even out factory rake. For many, the purpose is simply to stick the front-end of the truck into the air. Some believe the trend originated from baja trucks which raise the front-end of vehicles to combat nose diving on uneven terrain. Whatever the origin may be, non-enthusiasts often find the rake to be annoying, making ordinary headlights seem like high beams and putting pedestrians at risk due to decreased visibility.
Interestingly, the text of the bill does not appear to outright ban lifting or lowering a vehicle. In fact, the current North Carolina vehicle code specifically forbids elevating or lowering any vehicle in the front or rear more than six inches outside of factory specifications. The revised text would seemingly do away with the existing limitation and specifically target squatting vehicles.
The key word in the above statement is the word "and," which would create some ambiguity in the way that the proposed legislation is worded. As it's written, the text would appear to require both the raising of the front and lowering of the rear in excess of the specified limitations in order for a vehicle operator to be in violation. This would seemingly allow for owners to raise or lower their rides in excess of the prior six-inch law, so long as no other violations are committed, like exceeding 13 feet in height.
Whether that's intentional or just poorly written legislation is up for interpretation.
Regardless, the North Carolina House passed the bill recently with a nearly unanimous vote. It has since been referred to a Senate committee where it will be reviewed before being considered for a final vote into law.
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