RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia lawmakers have voted to ban a truck modification known as the “Carolina Squat.”
The Virginia House of Delegates on Friday passed a bill from state Sen. Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg) that makes it a misdemeanor to raise a front bumper four or more inches higher than the rear bumper. The modification, called the “Carolina Squat,” has been linked to at least one recent death in the commonwealth.
The proposal sailed through the General Assembly at the tail end of this year’s legislative session after lawmakers learned of a crash that killed a 27-year-old man in Mecklenburg County whose car was hit by a modified truck.
Sen. Peake and other lawmakers spoke of the death of Jody “B.J.” Upton Jr., a father of a 7-year-old who was killed in a Feb. 16 crash while driving to work.
“This bill is very important. It’s going to help take dangerous vehicles off the road,” Del. Thomas Wright Jr. (R-Lunenburg) said before Friday’s vote. “I had a constituent that was killed on February 16, BJ Upton, who left a 7-year-old son and other family members.”
Authorities confirmed to 8News that a modified pickup truck hit Upton’s truck. Ann Taylor Kallam, Upton’s future sister-in-law, told 8News the truck involved had the “Carolina Squat” modification.
Peake had to get unanimous consent in the Virginia Senate to introduce his bill after the crossover deadline. After it was introduced on Feb. 1, it was fast-tracked through the committee process and was passed by the General Assembly.
The Virginia Senate voted 39-0 to advance the bill on Feb. 8 and the House voted 97-0, with one abstention, on Friday to send the measure to Gov. Glenn Youngkin for his approval.
The legislation passed both chambers with an emergency clause, meaning the law would take effect once Gov. Youngkin signs it. With no lawmakers voting against the measure, it appears likely to be signed into law.