Washington State Patrol Issues Vehicle Equipment Regulation

The issuance of the Washington State Patrol's (WSP) long-awaited final regulations to amend that state's vehicle equipment standards provided SEMA and enthusiasts with a number of significant victories and a few setbacks. In a negotiated rule-making process that began late last year, SEMA submitted legal and technical arguments urging the WSP to consider less restrictive alternatives for regulating a range of equipment including body lifts, bumpers and suspension systems.
A summary of the results:
  • The WSP agreed to include language that would allow bumpers to be attached in a manner equal to the original manufacturer's installation, but refused to allow the installation of a dropped second bumper to meet bumper height requirements. WSP agreed to replace a provision that mandated that bumpers meet SAE standards with one that provided for the use of SAE or equivalent standards.
  • The WSP agreed to exempt certain street rods and kit cars from fender requirements.
  • The WSP withdrew a provision that would have required a new frame certification program by certified automotive body repair shops.
  • The WSP withdrew a proposed ban on body lifts and agreed to language that will allow a 4-in. total lift (3 in. of lift plus 1-in. OEM spacer).
  • The WSP agreed to use applicable SAE standards to govern the lighting color of aftermarket headlamps, auxiliary driving lamps and fog lamps, but has banned the use of neon lighting while a vehicle is in motion on a public roadway.
  • The WSP will prohibit the use of most aftermarket products obstructing the performance of required lighting devices and specifically outlaws headlight grille guards. Clear aftermarket headlamp covers are exempt from the prohibition.
  • The WSP will disallow the activation of a hydraulic system while a vehicle is being operated on public roadways.
Chris Kersting, SEMA VP of government affairs, commented, While we are not content with every aspect of this regulation, we appreciate the willingness of WSP to accept many of the reasonable amendments offered by the industry.