Authorize or Not? You Decide - Potentially Dangerous Auto Accessories
By Perry Zucker
Submitted May, 2003
For many years consumers demanded from auto part stores and garages, many different accessories on their vehicles. These add-on accessories brought millions of dollars to the manufacturers, dealers and the installers. As accessories became more complex, so did the legal ramifications.
Some of these accessories are as follows:
Brush / Push Guards - Are supplemental to the front /rear SUV's / Van's bumper. Basically, they are used for protection against minor cosmetic damage(s). Essentially, they can be dangerous due to the heavy gauge of metal, which can lead to intrusion chain reactions into the other vehicle's panel(s). These actions may cause additional injuries to the other vehicle's occupants.
Fog / Driving Lights - Most States require white and/or yellow lights in the front of the vehicle as well as specific light beam cut-off patterns and lumens / power (wattage). Fog lights should not be able to operate with the high beams on (at the same time).
Neon Lights - Are tube-like lights that are filled with different types of gases to produce various colors, which are placed in the front / rear / side / undercarriage of the vehicle. Most States deem them illegal due to the non-compliance of locations and/or colors.
License Plate Tinted / Smoke Covers - Can impair the visibility of the license plate information, deeming them illegal.
Black Out Kits - Are smoked plastic overlay covers, which are installed over the tail / head lights. This partly hampers the visibility of the light(s), deeming them illegal.
Dark Limo Window Tint - This can lead to poor visibility in bad lighting and/or adverse weather conditions, which may lead to accidents, deeming them illegal in some States.
Television / Video Players - In some States the operator of the vehicle can NOT view the screen from their position. This in turn eliminates drivers in attentive operation of the said vehicle.
Wheel Lights - Are small battery operated lamps, which are placed as air valve caps. Most States deem them illegal due to the non-compliance of locations and/or colors.
Simulated High Powered H.I.D Headlights - Can cause various effects of oncoming drivers, such as dazzling, due to the color and high intensity. This single occurrence can be extremely dangerous and cause accidents.
As a matter of fact some of these devices which maybe label "Off-road use only" contribute to double-digit percentages of all vehicles accidents. Most of these devices do not meet SAE / DOT / FMVSS standards.
All parties (manufactures, dealers, owner, driver and the installers) can be held liability due to contributory negligence of the subject accident(s).
About the Author: Perry J. Zucker, Degreed Engineer (several degrees in engineering as well as technology), provides technical reports, pre-trial preparation, and expert witness testimony concerning vehicle related accidents (reconstruction), traffic violations, general accidents, and product liability cases, for both plaintiffs / defendants and civil / criminal. He is a member of SAE, IEEE, ASME, State Appellate Div. Expert Panel, ASE certified, State vehicle inspector and a certified speed measuring device operator / instructor. His office can be reached at (718) 375-5063 or visit him on the web at trafficdoc.com.
Copyright © 2003 Perry Zucker.All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the express written permission of the copyright holder. If you believe you may lawfully use a quotation, excerpt or paraphrase of this article under the Fair Use exception to copyright law, except as otherwise authorized by the author of the article, you must cite this article as a source for your work and include a link back to the original article from any online materials that incorporate or are derived from the content of this article.