So you like the look of a lifted truck? Does the thought of riding high above all the other drivers on the road give you that macho feeling? Do you relish the joy and glee of cutting other drivers off on the freeway without having to see their angry faces and screams? Have you ever experienced the whoop-whoop of a police siren from the trooper who has been trying to get your attention for the last 5 miles because your truck is so high and you swear you didn't know he was behind you? Or, are you worried that driving a monster truck down your city streets might be-gulp!-illegal? Don't fret, all ye truckers! Sport Truck has the lowdown on lifted trucks. We have compiled a state-by-state list of rules, laws, and guidelines that each state's friendly law enforcement tells us will get you fined if you break them.
During the course of our in-depth research, we found that no two states are alike, with regard to enforcing equipment and modification violations. Some laws even vary from county to county within each state. We also discovered there is not always a direct way to find this information, without talking to five, sometimes eight, different people before we get the "I'm not sure who you want to talk to" answer.
What we do know is that police officials have confirmed that if you are driving erratically, whether you are piloting a lifted truck or not, you're probably going to get stopped. Your behavior during the stop will most likely determine what the officer will want to look for and whether or not you'll be hassled. In other words, having a lifted truck is cool. However, acting like a fool is not, and if you're not fond of your state's laws, have your attorney on speed dial or move.
Lifted or slammed, we have all been stopped at some point by Johnny Law. Some of you fortunate readers have gotten off easy with a warning, and some of you less fortunate readers have probably had worse things happen. Finding what is legal in your state can be complicated, and one thing that all states seem to have in common is a focus on safety. Safety on the road is the foremost issue concerning all vehicles, especially in densely populated states where thousands of cars and trucks are on the road at the same time.
So, if you're going to modify your truck, use this guide as a gateway to educating yourself regarding your local laws. But, you can also find out more information via the internet or call your local law enforcement department. One thing you should be aware of is that most states base their laws on how high or low your truck is, as measured from the headlights and taillights. Officers take their measurements from the center of the lamp to the ground, to determine whether or not your truck is in compliance.
NOTE: The following is subject to change. It is your responsibility to stay informed as to what is legal in your state. If unsure about whether or not a certain modification is legal or not, ask the cop as they write you the ticket.
There aren't codes dealing specifically with the suspension components; rather, you'll have to base your mods on the reflectors. They can't be more than 60 inches above the ground. Alabama's main concern is with the lights. You can have your truck almost any height, but you must have the lights to identify that height. Underbody light kits are illegal, and if your truck is more than 80 inches in width, you must have the reflector lamps for that. One thing we did find out is that if your vehicle is a sponsored vehicle and you intend to drive it on public roads, you are considered a commercial vehicle and must adhere to all rules and regulations of a commercial vehicle. Fines for violating these rules vary from county to county. We encourage you check your county's law before going buck wild on building a truck. Check out Alabama's website for more information at www.dps.state.al.us/mc.
Alaska is another state that bases its laws on lights, but it's the distance from the headlights and taillights to the ground, which can be 54 inches maximum and 24 inches minimum, front and rear. One thing to note is this state requires mudflaps. Upon talking with P.R. Rep. Greg Wilkinson, we found out that more information is available from the Alaska Legal Resource Center, under Title AAC 04.005, Disconnection or Alteration of Equipment. If you do get a ticket, the cost can be as much as $300, and the timeline to fix your vehicle is up to the officer issuing the ticket. We also found out that Alaska has more broken windshields than almost every other state, mostly due to the many gravel roads with heavy traffic. For more information, check out Alaska's website at www.alaska.gov.
It's all about mudflaps. The rear fender's splashguards can't be more than 8 inches from the ground and must be wide enough, of course, to actually cover the full tread of the tires. However, 3/4-ton or lighter pickups are exempt, unless you've increased the OE bumper height. So, in other words, lift it, and you're stuck following the mudflap rules. Leave your pickup stock, and you can skip the flaps. Also, keep in mind that, empty or loaded, your truck can't be taller than 13 feet, 6 inches. For more information, check out www.arizona.gov.
There's no law governing suspension upgrades, but there is a statute that restricts the height of the headlights. They can't be lower than 24 inches or higher than 54 inches from the ground. However, the overall height restriction is 13 feet, 6 inches, without permit, thereby limiting all those dreams you just had. For more information, check out www.arkansas.gov.