FindLaw Blotter - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog

3 Illegal Car Modifications

What's wrong with a nice factory produced car? Cars, we think you're beautiful just the way you are. However, people love to modify their cars.

A few years ago, we wrote about five illegal car modifications. Those modifications are just a little bit old-school now, so we're back with three more illegal modifications for the right now crowd.

1. Whistle Tips

Whistle tips are little pieces of metal with a hole in the middle that are welded onto the exhaust pipe of a car. When the car moves, air is pushed through the hole of the metal, and creates an annoyingly piercing whistling sound that can be heard up to a mile away.

These aren't exactly new, but they were recently popularized by a KRON-TV interview with Oakland resident Bubb Rubb and his imitation of the whistle tip screeching. Regardless, these devices are illegal in California. Even if there aren't specific laws prohibiting them in your state, they may violate some ordinance on noise.

2. Radar Jammers

Radar scanners that notify you of police radars are entirely legal. You can use them to show you when to slow down or be on the lookout for police.

However, neutralizing the problem of radar cameras with radar jammers is illegal. In California, having a radar jammer is an infraction, and having four radar jammers or more in a misdemeanor. Seriously, why would you need more than one?

3. Strobe Brake Lights

When we talk about strobe brake lights, do you think of club lights at a rave? Strobe brake lights are actually pretty helpful and nowhere near as blinding as the pulsating lights at music shows. These brake lights are designed to pulsate or flash in proportion to how hard you press the brakes. So, if you slammed on your brakes, the lights would flash to give the tailgater behind you extra warning.

Sadly, lawmakers and U.S. safety regulators are not yet convinced of the safety benefits. Current regulations require brake lights to be steady burning, so flashing brake lights are not allowed. Some companies claim to have pulsing brake lights that remain steady burning, but we foresee a lot of traffic stops as police may disagree on the definition of "steady burning."

If you are cited for an illegal car modification, an experienced local traffic attorney will be able to advise you on the best response.

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