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New Law Bans Tennessee Lean / Carolina Squat Vehicle Modifications

 Drivers who have their trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles lifted higher in the front than the back will have to change their style after a new law went into effect July 1, 2024.

The look, commonly known as the Tennessee Tilt or the Carolina Squat, is achieved when the front of the vehicle is raised while the rear-end sits lower, giving the vehicle a squatting stance. Other names for the stance include the California Lean or Cali Lean, which is where the look originated.

According to the new state law, the front fender of any vehicle operated on any street, road, or highway cannot be 4 inches or more higher than the rear fender by any means of alteration.

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The new law, which outlaws the squat, classifies driving a vehicle with Carolina Squat modifications as a Class-B misdemeanor. Violators could face a fine of $250 for the first offense. Penalties increase for each subsequent violation, with the third offense within a 12-month window resulting in a $500 fine and a 12-month driver’s license revocation.

Neighboring state North Carolina outlawed the Carolina Squat in 2021 after 75,000 people signed an online petition calling for the ban. South Carolina followed suit with a similar bill making it illegal to modify the front or rear of a vehicle by 6 inches or more, up or down.

The look has led to visibility problems for drivers, making it difficult or impossible to see small children and road obstacles directly in front of the squatted vehicle. Multiple lawsuits have been filed against drivers of modified vehicles involved in accidents due to impaired visibility caused by the raised front end. In 2022, Virginia outlawed the look after a squatted truck crossed the center line and struck another vehicle head-on. The family of the man killed in the accident believes the driver of the truck was unable to see the oncoming vehicle due to the modified front end.

BILL SUMMARY – This bill prohibits a person from operating a passenger motor vehicle on any street, road, or highway in this state if, by alteration of the suspension, frame, or chassis, the height of the vehicle’s front fender is four or more inches greater than the height of the rear fender. As used in this bill, the height of the fender is a vertical measurement from and perpendicular to the ground, through the centerline of the wheel, and to the bottom of the fender.

This bill provides that a violation of the prohibition above constitutes a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of (i) $250 for the first offense in a 12-month period; (ii) $500 for the second offense in a 12-month period; and (iii) $500 and a 12-month revocation of the person’s driver license for the third offense in a 12-month period. Within 30 days of conviction for a violation, the clerk of the court of conviction must give notice of the conviction to the department of safety.

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Thank you to WGNS Radio in Murfreesboro for their help with this story.

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