Squatted truck owners fear ban on ‘Carolina Squat’ will limit more modifications
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A bill prohibiting a popular vehicle modification in the Palmetto State will officially go into effect in a matter of months.
Once Senate Bill 363 is implemented, the so-called “Carolina Squat” will be banned, and drivers will not be allowed to have a truck or SUV where the front fender is raised four or more inches above the height of the rear fender.
Some pickup truck owners, who happen to like the front end of their cars a little higher than the back end, said they worry this new law will make it easier for the state to ban other vehicle modifications moving forward.
Several community members with squatted trucks said it’s important for them to express themselves by modifying their vehicles in this way.
They said they worry that banning the “Carolina Squat” will make it easier for the state to have more control over their trucks in the future.
“I think this bill being passed opens the door for many other bills to be passed, limiting what we can do with our vehicles,” squatted truck owner Nicholas Coletti said.
Coletti said customizing trucks and SUVs brings people together and keeps him and his friends out of trouble.
Another squatted truck owner, Marcus Duesterhaus, said he agrees.
“It’s better than going out and partying and going to clubs and stuff,” Duesterhaus said.
Chaise Green owns a squatted truck, as well and said he worries that all leveled trucks could be banned next.
“I feel like we should be able to do whatever we want with the vehicle because we pay for the vehicle,” Green said.
All three guys said they’re worried about what other modifications could be banned once this law officially takes effect, which is exactly 180 days after the bill was signed into law.
At that point, anyone with their front fender four or more inches above the height of their back fender will be fined twice before having their license suspended for a year.
Senator Luke Rankin, who sponsored the bill, said the palmetto state is known to respect individual rights and liberties, however public safety is the top priority.
“We encourage safety here and that’s exactly what this is about. The concern of what’s to come next is a case-by-case basis,” Rankin said.
Trial Attorney Chris Evans with Evans Moore Law Firm said he understands why people are worried that this bill could set the standard for further restrictions, but it’s really not much different than other restrictions like window tint, or radio volume.
“This is probably a little bit too restrictive; I think the state probably could’ve gone up to eight inches without really having those legitimate safety concerns of not being able to see the car in front of you, not being able to see pedestrians in crosswalks, but there’s definitely a valid reason to regulate the Carolina Squat,” Evans said. “The state’s got a right to weigh in and take the safety concerns over people’s personal preferences and their ability to express themselves.”
Until the bill goes into effect, only warning tickets will be given out for violations.
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