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Columbia Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Car Accident > Beware of Dangerous Car Mods

Beware of Dangerous Car Mods


Remember when the comedian Kevin Hart got injured in a car accident last fall, but then a passenger who was in the car announced plans to sue Hart?  The reason for Hart’s possible liability in the accident was that his car did not conform to current safety standards.  Hart had modified (or perhaps failed to modify) the vehicle, a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, so that it had all the same features as when it had first appeared at auto shows in the 1970s.  The car was lovely to behold, but even the fanciest cars in 1970 were less safe than the cars of the past decade.  1970 was half a century ago, and the safety features that come standard in your average clunker today either did not exist back then, or else were only available in the fanciest models.  While Kevin Hart’s 50-year-old Barracuda is an extreme example, there are plenty of other modified cars on the road that prioritize style over safety.  If you have been injured in an accident where the owner intentionally kept the car in an unsafe condition, no matter how cool that unsafe condition might have looked, contact a South Carolina car accident lawyer.

Illegally Unsafe Car Modifications

One of the major reasons that cars are so different today from how they were in previous decades is that the legal regulations about car safety keep changing.  In our lifetime, the laws about the number and location of airbags required in cars have changed.  Your parents might even remember a time when cars did not have seatbelts in the back seat.  Custom modifications to cars have been a popular hobby for almost as long as automobiles have been commercially available.  There are also laws about the minimum safety requirements for customizable features such as lighting and window tinting.  These are some popular car mods that increase the risk of collisions and may be illegal:

  • Lights – It is against the law to change the headlight and taillight colors from the colors installed by the vehicle manufacturer; the yellow and white lights are there because they are the easiest for other drivers to see. It is legal to install off-road lights on your car, but it is not legal to turn them on when driving on public highways and city streets.  You also cannot install neon lights on the exterior of the car, because they are too distracting to other drivers.
  • Mirrors – The law dictates the shape of cars’ side-view mirrors; the legally prescribed shape gives the widest field of vision. It is against the law to customize the shape of your mirrors to give your car a more elegant silhouette.
  • Sound – Playing the music in your car at a loud volume can distract other drivers, but that is not the only way that noise from cars can be dangerously distracting. It is illegal to remove the muffler from your car’s exhaust system, because doing so makes the car distractingly noisy.

Let Us Help You Today

A Columbia car accident lawyer can help you if the cause of your car accident was not simply a driving mistake but a distraction or hazard caused by a custom modification to someone else’s car.  Contact The Stanley Law Group for a consultation on your case.




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