Maybe you have seen them. “Underglow” lights are neon or LED lights mounted under a vehicle that light up the road surface. The effect is quite dramatic as it gives the vehicle an “otherworldly” effect. Some people believe that underglow lights provide a good-looking safety feature, especially among motorcycle riders who drive at night. As Len Stoler Hyundai of Ownings Mills, MD, a factory authorized Hyundai dealer pointed out to us the problem is, despite the fact that they might be a great safety feature, they are illegal in many states.
Unlawful vehicle modifications
Every state has restrictions on some vehicle modifications. If a police officer finds that you have violated the law by performing a vehicle modification that isn’t allowed, he/she may issue you a ticket and require that the modification be removed. Some examples of unlawful vehicle modifications would include things such as:
Addition of non-approved lighting (such as underglow lights)
Alteration or removal of air pollution and emissions control device
Modification of standard vehicle ground clearance (“lowered” or “raised” vehicles)
Removal of mufflers or other exhaust sound control devices
Window tinting (especially tinting of windshield)
Underglow lighting laws
Underglow lighting laws exist to help keep the drivers free from distractions that could lead to hazardous driving conditions. For safety, the laws generally restrict the color and type of underglow lights a car owner may add to a car. While yellow and amber neon lights are generally accepted, red and blue lights are often restricted because of its common use on police cars. Similarly, lights that flash or blink are also restricted based on their common association with ambulances and other emergency safety vehicles.
Specific State Law Examples of Underglow lights
Some states allow underglow lights but have restrictions. States like California, Kansas, and Arizona, allow the use of underglow car lights with restrictions on a particular color and location, for example:
Arizona traffic laws only allow amber or white lights on the sides of cars.
Kansas allows the use of underglow lighting on vehicles, but they cannot be red or flashing.
Penalties for underglow light violations
A underglow lighting law violation is considered a civil infraction, punishable as a non-moving traffic violation. Non-moving traffic violations may be heard by district judges or magistrates in a district court close to where the infraction occurred.
Under traffic laws in most states, drivers may be given a “fix-it” ticket for modifying a car in violation of the state’s traffic and vehicle modifications laws. As the term suggests, a driver would have the opportunity to correct the violation by a showing to a local police officer or DMV that the issue was fixed
The possibilities are endless when it comes to ‘tricking’ out your ride with underglow lights. However, if you want to avoid having to pay fines or getting a suspended license, you should check the underglow lighting laws of your particular state. While many states allow for some type of illumination on vehicles, there are many specific rules that may or may not apply to underglow lights in your case.
Photo credit : californiacarlaws