H. B. 4045
(By Delegate Evans, By Request)
[Introduced January 21, 1998; referred to the
Committee on Roads and Transportation then the
A BILL to amend and reenact section forty-eight, article fifteen,
chapter seventeen-c of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to
alteration of motor vehicles; allowing a motor vehicle
bumper or frame to be up to thirty-five inches from the
ground, and allowing tires to extend up to three inches
laterally beyond the outboard edge of the fender, fender
well or other wheel enclosure.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section forty-eight, article fifteen, chapter
seventeen-c of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read
ARTICLE 15. EQUIPMENT.
§17C-15-48. Alteration of motor vehicles; bumper height limits;
other modifications; exceptions; required
inspection; and rules of division of public safety.
(a) No person may operate upon a public highway any motor
vehicle registered or required to be registered in this state if
it has been modified by alteration of its height from the ground
to the extent that its bumpers, measured to any point on the
lower edge of the main horizontal bumper bar, exclusive of any
bumper guards, do not fall within the limits specified herein for
its gross vehicle weight rating category. The front and rear
bumper height of motor vehicles whose gross vehicle weight rating
is ten thousand pounds or less may be no less than six inches and
no more than
thirty-one thirty-five inches. In the absence of
bumpers, and in cases where bumper heights have been altered or
modified, height measurements shall be made to the bottom of the
frame rail. If a motor vehicle has a bumper, the bumper must be
at least three inches in vertical width, centered on the center
line of the motor vehicle and not less than the width of the
wheel track distance. The provisions of this subsection do not
apply to motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating in
excess of ten thousand pounds. For the purpose of this
subsection, the term "gross vehicle weight ratings" means the
manufacturer's gross vehicle weight ratings established for that vehicle.
(b) The maximum distance between the vehicle body to the
vehicle frame may not exceed three inches. The distance from the
vehicle body to the vehicle frame shall be measured from the
vehicle body mount seat to the vehicle frame mount seat:
Provided, That the maximum distance limitation shall not prohibit
a body lift kit up to three inches to be added to the
manufacturer's original spacer between the body and the frame.
No vehicle may be modified to cause the vehicle body or chassis
to come in contact with the ground, expose the fuel tank to
damage from collision, or cause the wheels to come in contact
with the body under normal operation. No part of the original
suspension system may be disconnected to defeat the safe
operation of the suspension system. Modification of the front
end suspension by the use of lift blocks is expressly prohibited.
(c) Nothing contained in this section prevents the
installation of heavy duty equipment, including shock absorbers
and overload springs.
(d) Nothing contained in this section prohibits the
operation on a public highway of a motor vehicle with normal wear
to the suspension system if such normal wear does not adversely
affect the control of the vehicle.
(e) This section does not apply to specially designed or modified motor vehicles when operated off the public highways in
races and similar events. Such motor vehicles may be lawfully
towed on the highways of this state.
(f) Modifications to motor vehicles, not prohibited herein,
shall be made subject to inspection as provided in subsection (g)
(g) The outermost edge of tires mounted on a modified
vehicle may extend up to three inches laterally beyond the
outboard edge of the fender, the fender well or other fender
enclosure. Nothing contained in this section shall subject a
vehicle modified solely by the installation of tires not larger
than two sizes beyond the maximum specified by the manufacturer
to inspection as provided in subsection (h) herein.
(h) Any motor vehicle which has been altered from the
manufacturer's specification with respect to bumper height for
that vehicle make and model but within the allowable limits of
subsection (a) or any motor vehicle which has been altered from
the manufacturer's specification for that vehicle make and model
with respect to the distance from the vehicle body to vehicle
frame but within the allowable limits of subsection (b) may be
operated upon a public highway in this state, subject to
inspection hereunder: Provided, That any motor vehicle which has
been altered from the manufacturer's specification by lowering the bumper height for that vehicle make and model within the
allowable limits of subsection (a) shall be exempt from the
inspection requirements hereunder and may be operated upon a
public highway in this state subject to provisions of article
sixteen of this chapter. If a motor vehicle and its equipment
subject to inspection under this section are inspected and found
to be in compliance with the provisions of this section and to be
otherwise in safe condition, an official "modified vehicle
sticker" shall be issued for display on the vehicle. The fee for
the modified vehicle stickers will be twenty-five dollars with
the division of public safety establishing rules concerning such
inspection. Each municipal, county and state law-enforcement
agency must record on accident report forms whether a modified
vehicle was involved in the accident.
(i) The division of public safety shall promulgate rules
governing a complete safety inspection of these vehicles and
other rules as necessary to fully enforce and implement the
provisions of this section. Notwithstanding the provisions of
article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, the division
of public safety may promulgate emergency legislative rules
relating to vehicle modifications under this section and such
rules shall be effective for a period of fifteen months beginning
with the month of November, one thousand nine hundred ninety-one.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to increase from 31
inches to 35 inches the maximum height a motor vehicle bumper or
frame is allowed to be from the ground, and to allow tires on a
motor vehicle to extend up to 3 inches laterally beyond the
outboard edge of the fender.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.