Modified trucks are vehicles that have been altered after it leaves the manufacturer’s hands. A change in the vehicle’s structure can change the way it handles and performs, by adding too much weight or displacing the center of gravity, or exposing the occupants to serious injury in the event of a collision.
Modified vehicles were once uncommon, but sales of aftermarket parts for appearance and performance have been increasing about 7 percent a year, reaching $37 billion in 2006, according to the Specialty Equipment Market Association, an industry trade group.
Federal studies already have shown that pickup trucks and SUVs have a higher center of gravity that makes them more prone to rollover accidents. Modifying vehicles and raising them higher with suspension kits and oversized tires increases the risk of accidents, suggests Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety in Washington. Modified, altered or even repaired vehicles may have been customized and/or repaired by facilities that choose to change the structural condition from the original engineered design or bypass Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts. Because aftermarket or salvage parts are not required to meet strict Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), they may be defective. These aftermarket modifications can present a greater danger to the driver of the modified vehicle, to any passengers, as well as to other vehicles on the road. Modified truck collisions can be catastrophic, involving serious injury and death, due to the unsafe conditionscreated by poor or illegal modifications.
Federal regulations help to standardize the height and width modifications allowed for modified trucks and Louisiana has put special regulations in place to help reduce modified truck accidents. These regulations control many different aspects of vehicle modification including vehicle height and width, brakes, engines, lights and fenders. However, many aspects of vehicle modification are left unregulated, which can lead to dangerous conditions and increased modified truck accidents, especially in the populated NewOrleans area.
If you have been involved in a modified truck accident or a truck accident in the NewOrleans area, contacting an attorney can assist you in discovering any dangerous or illegal modifications that may have contributed to or caused the accident. The experienced attorneys at Smiley Law can help maneuver the complex forensic investigation and legal issues often required in modified truck accident suits.