Lowcountry truck owners are calling for the “Carolina Squat” amendment law to be reconsidered.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – Some truck owners may face consequences for adjusting the height of their vehicles to match a popular trend after a new state law goes into effect.
The so-called “Carolina Squat” has grown in popularity across social media and auto communities throughout the Lowcountry and the South, but a new law now being implemented could mean hefty fines for truck owners.
Ross Colletti’s son owns a car with modifications.
“Throwing a blanket over it and saying everyone is going to be fined, or they’re going to lose their license after three warnings or violations, is wrong,” he says.
Bill 363 makes it illegal for South Carolinians to own vehicles with a Carolina Squat modification. It would make the Palmetto State one of three states with a ban on modification, which is defined as driving a vehicle with a front or rear fender raised four inches or more.
“If there’s excessive squat where the car is 12 or 14 inches, and that presents a risk, then yes we need to address that. That’s on a case-by-case basis,” Coletti says.
The law was mooted just under a year ago due to concerns about safety and visibility while on the roads as well as vehicle performance and operation.
“I think the four-inch difference is a little crazy because it’s not really squat,” says truck owner Clinton Larrabee. “A lot of vehicles with a four-inch gap have the same visibility as a truck six inches off the ground.”
The modification is “designed to be safe,” Colletti says.
They rebuilt engines and transmissions. “They know what is safe and unsafe,” Colletti says.
Lowcountry vehicle owners who own their vehicles say it creates a family feel for them and a way to express their personalities. They say they want to reconsider the bill.
“We put a lot of time and effort into these vehicles, and the last thing we want to do is damage them or injure other people,” says Markus Duesterhaus. “Obviously you’re in a modified car, so you have to be aware of what’s going on around you.”
“It really depends on the driver taking responsibility for their car and their actions,” says Keith Williams.
“The amount of money we put into these trucks, which is a hobby we love, just to take it away,” Lewin Martin says. “It’s crazy.”
Law enforcement will issue warning tickets to those who violate the law until May 10, 2024. Once this 180-day period expires, owners of their cars that still contain the modification will face the following fines:
- $100 for first violation
- $200 for the second violation
- Fine of $300 and license suspension for 12 months from date of conviction for third offense.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol says they plan to enforce and treat this law exactly as it reads, and recommend doing research to educate themselves.
To read the law itself click here.
Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.
(Tags for translation)Carolina Squat