Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 08-15-2014, 05:30 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: N Texas
Posts: 2,717
Are drivers of (substantially) lifted trucks subject to add'l liability in accidents?

A recent fender-bender has me puzzling this scenario. A driver has modified his truck's height to an extent it is dangerous to "normal" cars in an accident. Could he be sued over additional damage or injury caused by the mismatch in bumpers, etc.? I live in ground-zero for the current craze of EMCs* raising their pickups to insane heights with aftermarket kits. I've noticed many of these now have their bumper at the windshield level of the average car. This seems to unnecessarily endanger other drivers, and I was wondering about legal liability as a result. If someone is hurt by one of these fools (no matter who is "at fault"), would they have a reasonable case to sue the driver? Or the shop that did the modifications?

My truck was recently rear-ended by a small car while sitting at a traffic light. Apparently texting was involved. Although both vehicles were unmodified, the small height mismatch resulted in an amazing difference in the damage (Car totalled and undriveable, pickup drives away to shop for a new bumper). This led me to wonder what would happen with a really large height difference.

*Emasculated Man-Child. We refer to them this way, and they're so common we've shortened it to an acronym.

Last edited by pullin; 08-15-2014 at 05:35 AM.
#2
Old 08-15-2014, 06:40 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 443
IANAL

I don't think that it would take a terribly bright attorney to raise this as an issue of hightened liability. Federal laws have changed in the past few years with regards to the rear bumper on semi-truck trailers requiring them to be lowered so that a car won't pass underneath the trailer. These idiots raising their trucks does represent an increased danger to other drivers and thus, additional responsibility/liability in accidents.

I would love to hear some fool try to defend why they need to raise these trucks to dangerous heights.

This just about instantly voids their vehicle warranties and alterations of that type also raises insurance rates.

I don't get it, but welcome to the land of the free.
#3
Old 08-15-2014, 06:59 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 23,191
See if you can understand this:

Quote:
Texas

A person may not operate on a public roadway a passenger or commercial vehicle that has been modified from its original design or weighted so that the clearance between any part of the vehicle other than the wheels and the surface of the level roadway is less than the clearance between the roadway and the lowest part of the rim of any wheel in contact with the roadway.
It makes my head hurt.
#4
Old 08-15-2014, 07:03 AM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 28,939
Quote:
Originally Posted by MostlyUseless View Post
I would love to hear some fool try to defend why they need to raise these trucks to dangerous heights.
The people I know who have lifted trucks/SUVs use them off road or for snowplowing. Why else would they?
#5
Old 08-15-2014, 07:07 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 443
The people I know who do this in Florida do it because they have some exaggerated need that has nothing to do with function.

As an example, the next time you see an F250 10' off the ground, take a look underneath. Whatever sticks down lowest is your absolute ground clearance. Lifting the truck over the tires substantially does not substantially raise the truck's off road capability and actually raises its center of gravity making it worse.

The raised trucks, lowered cars, etc have precisely dick to do with function and 100% of some sense of "style(?)."

Leaffan: Oi!!!! College-educated, but what the hell does that say?

Last edited by MostlyUseless; 08-15-2014 at 07:09 AM. Reason: need for speed
#6
Old 08-15-2014, 07:15 AM
Arms of Steel, Leg of Jello
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Riding my handcycle
Posts: 34,777
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
The people I know who have lifted trucks/SUVs use them off road or for snowplowing. Why else would they?
Really? Who attaches a snowplow to these things?

And like MostlyUseless says, the off-road capability is not improved.

Last edited by running coach; 08-15-2014 at 07:17 AM.
#7
Old 08-15-2014, 07:24 AM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 28,939
Quote:
Originally Posted by running coach View Post
Really? Who attaches a snowplow to these things?

And like MostlyUseless says, the off-road capability is not improved.
Heh. The people I know with lifted trucks are far less extreme. One guy does mud bogs in the summer and plows in the winter.
#8
Old 08-15-2014, 07:26 AM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,422
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
See if you can understand this:



It makes my head hurt.
If you want to drastically lower your vehicle you can't lower it so far that any part of the vehicle is lower than the bottom of your rims. That is to say if you blow a tire your vehicle has to be able to drive on the rim instead of dragging on the frame or suspension parts rich could cause you to lose control.
#9
Old 08-15-2014, 07:41 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 23,191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emtar KronJonDerSohn View Post
If you want to drastically lower your vehicle you can't lower it so far that any part of the vehicle is lower than the bottom of your rims. That is to say if you blow a tire your vehicle has to be able to drive on the rim instead of dragging on the frame or suspension parts rich could cause you to lose control.
Yeah, I came to that conclusion too after reading it about 30 times. So, there's no upper limit on bumper height in Texas, by the looks of it.
#10
Old 08-15-2014, 08:30 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 443
I haven't been in Texas in awhile, but from the stupid lifted testosterone-fueled trucks I see here in Florida, I suspect Texas is worse. In my opinion these things are a menace, but again, it is a free country.

I still see plenty of room for potentially large scale liability problems.
#11
Old 08-15-2014, 08:36 AM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Colorado Rockies.
Posts: 12,498
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
Heh. The people I know with lifted trucks are far less extreme. One guy does mud bogs in the summer and plows in the winter.
I agree that some lift helps off roading, but it really isn't needed for snow plowing. You can certainly combine the two though.

There was zero need to lift either my Dodge or Chevy plow trucks. And the plowing I do is WAY more difficult than the typical suburban parking lot stuff.

The extreme lift in some of those pictures though is just horse shit. Really no way to justify it. And it would be a VERY custom plow mount to make it work.
#12
Old 08-15-2014, 08:54 AM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 28,939
Quote:
Originally Posted by enipla View Post
The extreme lift in some of those pictures though is just horse shit. Really no way to justify it.
I agree they're horseshit, but is justification other than "I want (and can afford)" necessary?
#13
Old 08-15-2014, 09:03 AM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Colorado Rockies.
Posts: 12,498
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
I agree they're horseshit, but is justification other than "I want (and can afford)" necessary?
:shrug: I donno. If it endangers others, perhaps some justification is needed.
#14
Old 08-15-2014, 09:03 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 4,305
The risk to other road users is apparently approved by your state government, so modded vehicles like that are legal and so injury that is mostly caused because its lifted (eg it falls over ) isn't going to lead to criminal charges.

Don't the insurance companies ask if the vehicle is modified and charge more for insurance, and take on the financial risk when they get paid their rate for that vehicle ?
#15
Old 08-15-2014, 10:12 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Cebu, Philippines
Posts: 14,329
Quote:
Originally Posted by MostlyUseless View Post
I haven't been in Texas in awhile, but from the stupid lifted testosterone-fueled trucks I see here in Florida, I suspect Texas is worse.

I live in a city of 70,000 in Texas, and I've never seen one.

I would think that if the vehicle is street-legal, it's the same as any other.

Last edited by jtur88; 08-15-2014 at 10:15 AM.
#16
Old 08-15-2014, 11:22 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 9,457
I'll counter your data point -- I've seen 'em. And FWIW every time I kinda want to pat the driver/owner on the head and say, "There, there. Bless your heart. It's okay; you have a tiny penis. Poor dear."

Men who do this to their vehicles and/or drive one should know that: the vast majority of women are laughing at you, not being impressed by you. And the ones who are impressed? Yeah, you do NOT wanna fuck that.
#17
Old 08-15-2014, 11:31 AM
Arms of Steel, Leg of Jello
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Riding my handcycle
Posts: 34,777
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
I'll counter your data point -- I've seen 'em. And FWIW every time I kinda want to pat the driver/owner on the head and say, "There, there. Bless your heart. It's okay; you have a tiny penis. Poor dear."

Men who do this to their vehicles and/or drive one should know that: the vast majority of women are laughing at you, not being impressed by you. And the ones who are impressed? Yeah, you do NOT wanna fuck that.
Actually, they do. Cause it's all they're going to get.
#18
Old 08-15-2014, 11:36 AM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,422
I guess my question would be:

Additional liability in what way?

If you're in a crash and you're 100% at fault you're 100% liable for the actual damages. That's the same whether you're driving a fiat or an ambulance or the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. If you're 0% at fault you're 0% liable. If its somewhere in the middle your insurance company will negotiate a liability percentage with the other insurance company. (Not exactly so if you're in a no fault insurance state, but I digress.) It's the same whether the damages are $100 or $1,000,000.

Are you suggesting additional punitive damages just because you think their vehicle looks scary or dangerous or isn't to your personal taste?
#19
Old 08-15-2014, 11:42 AM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Smurf Village.
Posts: 10,792
Do the females I know with lifted trucks have tiny penis' too?
#20
Old 08-15-2014, 11:59 AM
Arms of Steel, Leg of Jello
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Riding my handcycle
Posts: 34,777
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drunky Smurf View Post
Do the females I know with lifted trucks have tiny penis' too?
Since the clitoris is formed from the same base tissue as a penis, yes.
#21
Old 08-15-2014, 02:01 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 687
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emtar KronJonDerSohn View Post
I guess my question would be:

Additional liability in what way?

If you're in a crash and you're 100% at fault you're 100% liable for the actual damages. That's the same whether you're driving a fiat or an ambulance or the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. If you're 0% at fault you're 0% liable. If its somewhere in the middle your insurance company will negotiate a liability percentage with the other insurance company. (Not exactly so if you're in a no fault insurance state, but I digress.) It's the same whether the damages are $100 or $1,000,000.

Are you suggesting additional punitive damages just because you think their vehicle looks scary or dangerous or isn't to your personal taste?
It isn't punitive. When you raise a truck, the bumper is no longer even with all the other bumpers on the road. If someone rear-ends you, their car may travel under yours until your bumper hits something inside the other vehicle's passenger area that causes it to stop. I don't know all the ins and outs of insurance, but I think that modifying a vehicle in such a way that its systems that were originally meant to protect people in the event of a crash are now more likely to cause injury and death might open one up to liability beyond simple fault in an accident.

Last edited by Mithras; 08-15-2014 at 02:01 PM.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:21 PM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: vacuum spiders polite chipmunks rogaine effectiveness raliegh sc30 mg250dfx marshall holly sherwood swag history tall chinese drano old pipes extra long earphones nitro diesel sanding floor with belt sander why are 2x4 not 2x4 how many pairs of legs do centipedes have cost of mole removal how to wear a protective cup what do the numbers on my glasses frame mean how to get stan lee autograph is political science a hard major can i use deodorant on my balls size of olympic pool how to charge a new motorcycle battery how to make someone host of facebook event what kind of doctor does hernia repair what does an embalmed body look like after a year