State senators could start voting on ‘Carolina squat’ bill as early as Tuesday

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 7:32 PM EST
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) -- South Carolina lawmakers are once again trying to ban what’s often called “the Carolina Squat”-- when a mechanic alters the front part of a car or truck by raising it.

Voting on the legislation in the Senate could start as early as Tuesday.

Squatting is a controversial topic, and those who oppose it cite safety concerns, like lower visibility.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE | Myrtle Beach police back bill banning ‘Carolina Squat’ modification on S.C. roads

“When it’s tilted in such a way that the driver can’t see over the hood, that’s when you end up causing accidents, running over people and we’ve even had a death,” said State Senator Larry Grooms, chairman of the Transportation Committee.

Autoworld of Conway owner Ron Geris said it hasn’t happened recently, but the company has had people come in and ask to have their cars squatted.

“We’re not seeing the propensity that we once did, and truthfully, I’m quite thankful,” said Geris.

And now, legislators hope to ban the practice once and for all.

“I’m hopeful that it will become law this year,” said Grooms.

Leaders from several local police departments continue to point to safety concerns with the practice.

Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock recently wrote to lawmakers on the Transportation Committee, calling squatting dangerous and saying “these extreme alterations limit visibility, bypass factory safety standards and cause unnecessary risk to the modified vehicle owners, other roadway users and pedestrians.”

“If it were up to me, would I have my son or my daughter driving a Carolina squatted truck? Probably not,” said Geris.

But, Geris also said that although he advises against squatting, he believes everything should be done in moderation.

“I’m all for modifying vehicles, but safety has to be the number one concern of drivers in our state,” he said.

Chief Prock also wrote that some have proposed a delay of up to a year until legislation would take effect, but the department believes this is the wrong approach. She writes, “let’s not wait for another tragedy to occur. It’s time to act now.”

Bills banning squatting have been proposed before, and have passed the Senate, but not the House of Representatives.

Senator Grooms said he feels strongly that this bill will pass the Senate again and will be picked up by the House of Representatives sometime this spring.

Stay with WMBF News for updates.