Fact vs. Fiction: North Carolina “Squat Truck” Legislation
In late August, the North Carolina legislature passed a bill (HB 692) that aims to crack down on the automotive style commonly known as the “Carolina Squat,” a practice whereby a vehicle’s stance (rake angle) is tilted rearward excessively by lifting the front and/or lowering the rear of the vehicle. When the proper “lean” is achieved, this look aims the vehicle’s nose upward dramatically. Click here for examples. Unfortunately, vague reporting by the mainstream press and social media rumors have created confusion amongst enthusiasts about what the law will actually do. The SEMA Action Network (SAN) is here to clarify the matter.
Since 1975, passenger vehicles in North Carolina may not be lifted or lowered in the front or back more than six inches without written approval from the Commission of Motor Vehicles.
Claim: A new bill in North Carolina will ban lifted vehicles.
As stated above, vehicles in North Carolina may not be lifted or lowered more than six inches. A bill that recently passed the legislature would amend current law to shift focus away from the overall ride height and instead to rake angle.
What would the new law change exactly? If signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper, a vehicle’s front fender may not be four or more inches higher than the rear fender. For the purposes of the law, the height of the fender is a vertical measurement from and perpendicular to the ground through the centerline of the wheel and to the bottom of the fender. In other words, it does not matter how much the vehicle is lifted as long as the rake angle is not excessive. Motorists found to have violated the law three times within a 12-month period will have their license revoked for at least one year.
Fans of the Carolina Squat argue that HB 692 represents more government overreach that needlessly cracks down on car culture. Proponents of the proposal point to safety as the reason for the change. By excessively aiming the front of a vehicle upward, it makes it more difficult for the driver to see over the hood, dangerously shifts the angle of the headlights, and changes airflow under the vehicle, causing it to be unstable.
The bottom line:
Fans of lifted or lowered trucks fear not. Unless you’ve raised the nose of your vehicle excessively as compared to the tail, HB 692 will not impact you. In fact, observant enthusiasts—including some in the automotive press—have noticed that HB 692 would remove the existing 6-inch height limit entirely while focusing solely on rake angle.
HB 692 passed the legislature on August 24 with widespread bipartisan support. Governor Roy Cooper had 10-days to sign or veto the bill, or let it become law without his signature.
UPDATE: The bill was signed into law on August 30, and goes into effect on December 1, 2021.
Questions? Please contact Christian Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.