Lowcountry truck owners ask reconsideration of ‘Carolina Squat’ modification law
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Some truck owners may face consequences for modifying the height of their vehicles to fit a popular trend after a new state law just took effect.
The so-called “Carolina Squat” has grown in popularity through social media and car communities across the Lowcountry and the South, but a new law now being enforced could mean hefty fines for truck owners.
Russ Coletti’s son owns a vehicle with the modification.
“To throw a blanket over it, and saying everybody’s getting fined, or they’re going to lose their license after three warnings, tickets, is wrong,” he says.
Bill 363 makes it illegal for South Carolinians to have vehicles with the Carolina Squat modification. It would make the Palmetto State one of three states actively placing a ban on the modification, which is specified as driving a vehicle with a front or rear fender raised four or more inches.
“If there’s an excessive squat out there where a vehicle is 12, 14 inches, and it’s a hazard, yes we need to address that. That’s on a case-by-case basis,” Coletti says.
The law has been in talks for just under a year because of concerns for safety and visibility while on the roads as well as vehicle performance and operation.
“I think the four-inch difference is a bit crazy because it’s not even really squatted,” truck owner Clinton Larrabee says. “A lot of the vehicles with a four-inch difference have the same view as a truck lifted six inches off the ground.”
Coletti says the modification is “built to be safe.”
“They rebuilt engines, transmissions. They know what would be safe and unsafe,” Coletti says.
Lowcountry vehicle owners whose vehicles have the modification say it creates a sense of family for them and a way to express their personalities. They say they want the bill reconsidered.
“We put so much time and effort into these vehicles, the last thing we want to do is mess them up or injure other people,” Marcus Duesterhaus says. “Obviously you’re in a modified vehicle, so you have to be aware of what’s around you.”
“It really just depends on the driver taking accountability for their vehicle and their actions,” Keith Williams says.
“The amount of money we put into these trucks, a hobby we love, just to get them taken away,” Louin Martin says. “It’s insane.”
Law enforcement will be giving out warning tickets to those violating the law through May 10, 2024. Once that 180-day period is up, owners whose vehicles still have the modification will face the following fines:
- $100 for a first offense
- $200 for a second offense
- $300 fine and license suspension for 12 months from the date of conviction for a third offense.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol says they do plan to enforce and treat this law just as it is read, and recommend doing the research to educate themselves.
To read the law itself, click here.
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