Why are off-road vehicles with high bumpers allowed on the road?


#1

I am alarmed whenever I see a vehicle - always a pickup truck or SUV - that is jacked up with an enhanced suspension for off-road use. What bothers me is that invariably the bumpers then line up approximately with my windshield. This means that, should one of these vehicle either run into me, or I into it, not only will it destroy my car, it may also take me out in the process. Large 18-wheel trucks had the very same issue on the back end; as I understand it, after many fatal accidents involving a passenger vehicle plowing into the truck’s trailer, and the rear bed decapitating the passengers, such trucks were mandated to have a collision bar that more closely aligned with those on passenger vehicles. Why do such off-road vehicles get away with totally misaligned bumpers that present the very same hazard? Indeed, why in general is there not a mandate for all vehicles on the road to have reinforced bumpers which correspond to a specific height range?


#2

Don’t know about where you live, but Colorado has regulations on bumper height (and headlight height). The problem is that it’s almost impossible to keep track of every bozo that lifts a vehicle beyond the legal limit. If you have a specific vehicle you can identify, turn them in (but check your state’s motor vehicle statutes first). I agree, it’s a safety hazard for others.


#3

A far bigger danger is the use of cell phones, so ban the use of all cell phones in a vehicle unless parked and the engine off.
A 6 year old girl near here the other day was run over and killed by someone who was attempting to answer the phone and veered off.

My guess is that cell phone use contributes to more deaths, injuries, and damage by far than any ride height issues.
It’s not even close; and no, I don’t own an overly tall vehicle.


#4

I also believe that most states have bumper hight regulations, but I doubt they are vigorously enforced in most places.


#5

A mismatch between the bumper heights of most vehicles and those of tall trucks and SUVs, even those that haven’t had their suspensions modified, is a significant contributer to the likelyhood that an accident will be fatal for the passengers in the car with the ‘normal’ height bumper, according to the NHSTA. Theorizing about whether cell phones or high bumpers are a greater danger requires certain data we don’t have. I’d guess that the use of cell phones while driving increases the likelyhood of an accident in the first place, but that mismatched bumper height is far more likely to result in a fatality.

I guess a person driving a vehicle with a high bumper and talking on a cell phone at the same time is the worst possible combination. And as serious as this topic is, I can’t help but be reminded of Jack Handey’s classic observation:

“Contrary to what most people say, the most dangerous animal in the world is not the lion or the tiger or even the elephant. It’s a shark riding on an elephant’s back, just trampling and eating everything they see.”

(From “Deep Thoughts,” on Saturday Night Live)

Russ


#6

Awhile back I seen an old grey haired man talking on a cell phone driving a mini-van. Granted it was in a small town at a stop sign, but still… I think I needed a new pair of pants after seeing that


#7

Isn’t it the cops’ job to enforce laws like that? Come on!


#8

Here, here! I think I’m one of the last people in Missouri who does not answer or talk on his call phone while driving. If I need to talk to someone, I pull to the side of the road – or preferably pull into a rest area, park or gas station.

I’ve had a few near misses because of people not looking where they are going and yacking away on the damn phone.


#9

A perfect example of cell phone stupidity would be the lady I saw in a grocery store one day. I passed her several times and she was yakking away while shopping and continued to do this even while checking out.

She left the store followed by the carry out guy with me a minute behind.
She was still yakking when she stepped out in front of a Lay’s potato chip truck and was oblivous to the carry out’s warning.
Lucky for her the Lay’s guy slammed on the breaks and screeched to a stop about 5 feet from her.

Most people would have been rattled; not her. Just a finger wiggle ta-ta to the truck driver and proceeded on, still blabbing.
Now just imagine where she was 10 minutes later. Behind the wheel and oblivous.

My point is that I can drive around for an hour and see countless cell phone near-accidents waiting to happen. I may go for hours without seeing an over height truck, if at all.


#10

They’re all over the place here in Daytona.
Most are wanna be boys whose moms and dad have lots and lots of money and wanna look like they’re cool.
They tell their friends how deep the truck can wade and how well it can mud. But it never leaves the blacktop and they know it.
The worse I saw was so tall that, as it went past me as I was standing on the side of the road, I looked up and saw the muffler.
So I’ve decided a simple solution:
All smaller cars will be equipped with a fast acting sulfuirc acid bomb, and a hidden launcher. In the event of an imminent collision, the smaller cars launcher will deploy and launch the acid bomb at a high angle. If a car or truck that hasn’t been skyjackked out the wazzoo is the other car, then the acid bomb will miss and sail off into the sunset. If it IS a vehicle of the previously mentioned type, the acid bomb will detonate on the vehicle’s riddiculously high body and devour it in the last few milliseconds before the crash, saving the lives of those in the smaller car, since the people in that car abided by the bumper and headlight height laws, as well as the idea of general sensibility.

-Matt


#11

For those who remember the PC game DOOM…

I think a roof-mounted BFG-9000 would be a lot more effective. I can’t tell you how many times I’ll mutter to myself on the road “Where’s my damn BFG…”


#12

Minivans have bumpers the same height as most passenger cars. Many SUVs, especially those based on truck designs (rather than car designs), are the problem, with bumpers that are considerably higher than those on cars.

Of course, anybody talking on a cell phone while behind the wheel is a danger. But the minivan bumper height is not a concern.

Russ


#13

Awhile back I seen an old grey haired man talking on a cell phone driving a mini-van. Granted it was in a small town at a stop sign, but still… I think I needed a new pair of pants after seeing that

Yup, those mini-vans are pretty scary.


#14

Several years ago, a woman was driving down a rural interstate in our area when her cell phone rang. As she tried to answer, she dropped it. She started fumbling around on the floor trying to find it and drove across the median into an oncoming car killing its driver. Her excuse was that she was expecting a call from her pediatrician and didn’t want to miss him. At her sentencing, the judge gave her probation with the comment that she was clearly remorseful and that nothing would be accomplished by punishing her.

On the same road, in nearly the same place, a young woman changed lanes without looking and forced a car into the median. It continued across into the oncoming lanes and hit a car head on with fatal consequences for one of the drivers. The young woman went to jail.

Yesterday, I was driving down a two lane street with a 40 mph speed limit. A woman pulled out of a side street reasonably far ahead of me and slowly accelerated to 30 mph. After a couple of blocks, we had to stop for a red traffic light. Thirty seconds after the light turned green, I ran out of patience wating for her to move and honked my horn. She slowly accelerated to 30 mph again. A short distance later, the road widened and I was able to get past. As she glared at me, I noted a phone clamped to her ear.

Modern cell phones contain a GPS receiver. It wouldn’t take much programming to deactivate a phone if the GPS speed was greater than 5 mph. The only exception would be calls to 911.


#15

I do remember seeing a new-at-the-time GMC truck that was lifted as all get out driving on the road one time, but haven’t seen it since. The tires on the thing were taller than my civic. I think my roof would have come up on the top of his rim.


#16

We live in a “free” country. Lots of morons live here. When you CHOOSE to venture out onto the Great American High-way, you take what you get. The road is as you find it. Deal with it or take a bus…Whining about bumper height? Come on…


#17

http://www.offroaders.com/info/tech-corner/lift-laws.htm

There you go, plenty of info there. I have a tall '72 F-100 4x4 which meets Oregon’s requirement (no bumper height requirement, but there is a headlight height requirement) and if I should be so unfortunate to smack in to the back of, say, a Camry, I think I would hit it just a smidge above where the rear bumper is. Head on would put me right about the intake manifold (though the front differential would hit said Camry’s bumper, no problem.)

The rear is a different story. No bumper there, so get off that cell phone or smile as you go under. :slight_smile:


#18

In MOST states it’s illegal…however not enforced a very much. We had this incodent about 10 years ago in this little community in New Hampshire. This jacked up pickup was driving too fast and drove right OVER this small car (think it was a Escort)…killing the occupents. The truck was OVER 10" too high…yet had a valid inspection. And was NEVER pulled over by the police. Well it turns out that half the police in this communit also had trucks that were jacked up well over legal limit.

“When the police break the laws there is no law.”


#19

So, does anyone think the number of deaths/injuries caused by trucks sitting too high is anywhere in the same ball park numerically as the number of deaths/injuries caused by cell phones?
I don’t.


#20

No idea which is worse, but I don’t see the connection. Some states do have laws banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving (NY did last time I was there). Those laws are also widely ignored.

Are you saying bumper laws should not exist because call phones are more dangerous?