Washington, D.C.—Louisiana Governor M.J. "Mike" Foster Jr. signed into law SEMA's provision to exempt from fender requirements vehicles that were not fitted with fenders at the time of manufacture.
To accommodate wheel/tire modifications, the bill also contains a SEMA amendment allowing fender flares as an alternative to traditional fenders, flaps or splash aprons to minimize spray. Under the old Louisiana law, fender requirements applied only to trucks, trailers or semi-trailers. The new law applies to every vehicle.
Prior to the adoption of SEMA's amendment, the bill would have required street rods and specialty vehicles to install fenders in order to comply. "The SEMA amendments will allow street rods and other specialty vehicles to maintain the same look as originally constructed, without having to add unnecessary fenders or other devices to comply with the law. Street rodders and customizers will also benefit from the fender-flare alternative, which enables wheel and tire modifications," SEMA Director of State Relations Steve McDonald said. "The Louisiana legislature looked favorably upon our common-sense approach to modifying this bill on behalf of enthusiasts and the aftermarket industry." The new law is slated to go into effect on August 15, 1999.
"The involvement of SEMA in the Louisiana legislative activity is a clear example of the association's success in defending hobbyist and industry interests," McDonald stated. SEMA is a trade group comprised of more than 3,500 member companies that make up the specialty automotive aftermarket industry. The seven diverse niches in which SEMA members specialize include light-truck, off-road, racing and performance, street rod and restoration, and restyling. All combined the markets add up to $21.2 billion in retail business annually.