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Driving an occupied truck in South Carolina can result in your driver's license being revoked for one year

On November 12, 2023, South Carolina enacted a ban on the “Carolina Squat,” the modification that raises the front end of a vehicle higher than the rear. However, to give owners of “occupied” vehicles a chance to take action before they get into trouble, police only issued warnings for the first six months. Well, that six-month grace period ends on May 10th and drivers caught with occupied vehicles will face fines and possible loss of license.

Traditionally, one speaks of a Carolina squat when a vehicle – usually a pickup truck – is raised significantly higher at the front than at the rear. However, South Carolina law also accommodates the opposite. “'Occupied' vehicles include those with one front or rear fender raised ten or more inches higher than the other,” said the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (DOPS).

To ensure that owners don't just accept the fines to keep their trucks running the way they want, the penalties increase for each continued violation. First-time offenders will receive a $100 fine, second-time offenders will receive a $200 fine. However, anyone who is stopped three times for a Carolina squat will not only have to pay a $300 fine, but will also lose their driver's license for a year.

South Carolina is not the only state that bans such squatting. North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee have also banned it, although the fine for a first offense in Tennessee is $250, higher than in South Carolina.

Why do states ban this modification? Security. As soon as you direct the driver's angle of view upwards, forward visibility is impaired and the headlights dazzle even more. They also introduce some very strange steering geometry.

Maybe I'm just an old man screaming at clouds, but I don't see the visual appeal of the Carolina Squat. It reminds me of a dog violently sliding its butt across a carpet. So I won't be sad if the squat goes away, especially since it can pose a safety risk.

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Anna Harden

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