Utah Bill to Enhance Utility of 4x4 Vehicles Signed into Law
Utah off-highway and raised vehicle enthusiasts, notably the Utah 4 Wheel Drive Association (U4WDA), scored a major victory when hobbyist-developed legislation (H.B. 49) to allow useful suspension and body lifts and wheel and tire alterations was signed into law by Utah Governor Michael O. Leavitt.
The new law provides for expanded availability of performance enhancing modifications for both on and off-highway applications.These modifications are popular among enthusiasts and often essential for trail-riding activities where increased clearance, larger tires and improved suspension are necessary.The law also helps address some of the practical needs of a unique state such as Utah where weather conditions and rugged terrain often require vehicle modifications to ensure reliable everyday transportation.
"The new law provides for modifications that allow adequate clearance for on/off road activity and to accommodate heavy loads, larger tires, improved suspension and water-fording capability,"; said SEMA Director of Government and Technical Affairs Steve McDonald.";In addition, the law amends the previous Utah law which was overly restrictive, difficult to understand and enforce and provided no real value to 4x4 hobbyists.Finally, this law strives to protect and promote outdoor activity and vehicle enthusiasts in Utah.We are extremely pleased that the Governor agreed.";
Brian Caudill, Director of the SEMA Action Network, added, ";The Utah victory illustrates the benefits of partnership between the hobbyist community and SEMA.Working hand-in-hand with SEMA, the U4WDA crafted legislation that gives Utah's enthusiasts more freedom to legally customize their rigs.SEMA provided technical expertise and industry support and the Utah 4Wheel Drive Association provided the muscle, working tirelessly to shepherdH.B. 49through the legislative process to final passage.This is how an enthusiast/industry partnership is supposed to work.";
Under the new law, suspension modifications will be regulated based on a vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).Larger vehicles, including those weighing at least 7,500 pounds, can be lifted to a frame height of 28 inches. Measurements will be indicated as the vertical distance between the ground and the lowest point on the frame.Allowable body lifts will be increased to three inches as measured from the body floor to the top of the frame.
The SEMA Action Network would like to especially recognize the entire Utah 4 Wheel Drive Association, as well as U4WDA member Tom Barkume and past-President Brett Davis for their team effort in getting this law passed.Noted Mr. Davis, “It was a lot of work and a lot of fun, especially meeting the many Representatives and Senators, appearing before the committees, and being in the chambers when H.B. 49 was voted on.Utah 4-wheelers really stepped out of their comfort zones and helped get this thing done and I was proud to be the head cheerleader and, as one of the senators referred to me during the vote, ‘consultant.’Truly a big victory for a bunch of everyday Joe's.”