South Carolina Bans 'Carolina Squat': What's Next for Drivers?

Published May 20, 2024 at 6:08 PM

The "Carolina Squat," a vehicle modification trend characterized by a notably raised front end and a lowered rear, is set to become a thing of the past in South Carolina.

Governor Henry McMaster ratified legislation on May 16, 2024, effectively banning these modified trucks from state roads starting next year. This move aligns South Carolina with North Carolina and Virginia, marking a significant shift in regional automotive regulations.


Origin and Controversy
The trend, which has its roots in California desert racing, adjusts a truck's stance dramatically, raising the front end and lowering the back. This modification, while popular for its distinctive appearance, raises significant safety concerns. The altered vehicle dynamics can impair the driver's visibility and alter the truck's handling characteristics, potentially increasing the risk of accidents.


The Legislative Response
The South Carolina General Assembly responded to these safety concerns with overwhelming support for the ban, citing a commitment to road safety for all users. The legislation, which includes provisions for a grace period before enforcement begins, aims to phase out the presence of these vehicles gradually.

Police Chief Amy Prock and Mayor Brenda Bethune of Myrtle Beach were instrumental in advocating for this change. Myrtle Beach, known for its scenic views and vibrant street scenes, often featured in social media clips of squat trucks, has witnessed firsthand the dangers associated with these vehicles.

Details of the New Law
The new regulations specify that from July 1, 2024, there will be a 180-day period before police begin issuing fines. Violations could lead to fines between $100 and $300, and repeat offenders may face suspension of their driving licenses.

Community and Cultural Impact
While many support the ban for safety reasons, the squat truck community views the decision with mixed feelings. For some, like Coastal Carolina student Brett Michaels, the Carolina squat is more than just a vehicle modification; it's a part of cultural expression. Michaels, who has a significant following on TikTok showcasing these trucks, argues that reasonable modifications should be differentiated from extreme alterations.

Public and Police Perspectives
During a January hearing, state Sen. Greg Hembree, representing North Myrtle Beach, emphasized the "tragic problem" posed by these trucks in local communities. His sentiments are echoed by major organizations like ABATE, the S.C. Police Chiefs Association, and the State Department of Public Safety, all of whom advocate for the ban to enhance public safety.

A Balanced Approach to Cultural Expression and Safety
As the law takes effect, South Carolina navigates the complex balance between preserving a unique aspect of car culture and ensuring the safety of all road users. The debate around the Carolina squat highlights broader issues of automotive freedom, regulation, and public safety, continuing to fuel discussions both online and in the community.

Source: Motor Trend
May 20   |   1 answers
South Carolina Bans 'Carolina Squat': What's Next for Drivers?

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