California Law on Car Modifications – Part 3

Lifted Suspension

Some car and truck vehicle owners want to give their car’s and truck’s suspension a lift.  Again, before doing this, find out what’s allowed in California.

For example, in California, one rule is the maximum frame height is 23 inches.

Illegal: Screen/Monitor

In California, it is illegal to text while driving.  But what about watching an equally or greater distracting video or TV screen?

In most states, according to the AAA, a video screen is not allowed to be where the driver can see it, nor can it block the driver’s view of the road. GPS screens are usually an exception. And two states, Arkansas and Georgia, have no restrictions.

California Vehicle TV Laws

In California, video, TV and other screens and monitors in cars are governed by the California Vehicle Code, Division 12: Equipment of Vehicles, Chapter 5: Other Equipment, Article 5: Fenders, Ornaments, and Television, Section 27612.

In our state of California, using TV screens in cars while driving is allowed so long as the screen is not visible to the driver. California law requires that TV monitors must be installed behind the driver and/ or installed in such as manner that drivers of cars are not able to see them.

California law, like the laws in many other states, makes exceptions for GPS navigation devices, parking camera screens and vehicle information displays. If the video screen is capable of displaying television or receiving other similar depictions and signals it’s unlawful to use while driving.

The California Vehicle Code regulating the use of TV receivers, monitors and videos in cars is set forth below, so please review it to find out if your intended use is legal or illegal.  Remember, often laws and rules change over time, so to be safe always Google the code section to ascertain if there have been any changes, additions or amendments to any code section you refer to and rely upon.

California VC, Section 27602 states as follows:

(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driver’s seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.

(b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to the following equipment when installed in a vehicle:

(1) A vehicle information display.

(2) A global positioning display.

(3) A mapping display.

(4) A visual display used to enhance or supplement the driver’s view forward, behind, or to the sides of a motor vehicle for the purpose of maneuvering the vehicle.

(5) A television receiver, video monitor, television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal, if that equipment satisfies one of the following requirements:

(A) The equipment has an interlock device that, when the motor vehicle is driven, disables the equipment for all uses except as a visual display as described in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive.

(B) The equipment is designed, operated, and configured in a manner that prevents the driver of the motor vehicle from viewing the television broadcast or video signal while operating the vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner.

(6) A mobile digital terminal that is fitted with an opaque covering that does not allow the driver to view any part of the display while driving, even though the terminal may be operating, installed in a vehicle that is owned or operated by any of the following:

(A) An electrical corporation, as defined in Section 218 of the Public Utilities Code.

(B) A gas corporation, as defined in Section 222 of the Public Utilities Code.

(C) A sewer system corporation, as defined in Section 230.6 of the Public Utilities Code.

(D) A telephone corporation, as defined in Section 234 of the Public Utilities Code.

(E) A water corporation, as defined in Section 241 of the Public Utilities Code.

(F) A local publicly owned electric utility, as defined in Section 224.3 of the Public Utilities Code.

(G) A city, joint powers agency, or special district, if that local entity uses the vehicle solely in the provision of sewer service, gas service, water service, or wastewater service.

(c) Subdivision (a) does not apply to a mobile digital terminal installed in an authorized emergency vehicle or to a motor vehicle providing emergency road service or roadside assistance.

(d) Subdivision (a) does not apply to a mobile digital terminal installed in a vehicle when the vehicle is deployed in an emergency to respond to an interruption or impending interruption of electrical, natural gas, telephone, sewer, water, or wastewater service, and the vehicle is owned or operated by any of the following:

(1) An electrical corporation, as defined in Section 218 of the Public Utilities Code.

(2) A gas corporation, as defined in Section 222 of the Public Utilities Code.

(3) A sewer system corporation, as defined in Section 230.6 of the Public Utilities Code.

(4) A telephone corporation, as defined in Section 234 of the Public Utilities Code.

(5) A water corporation, as defined in Section 241 of the Public Utilities Code.

(6) A local publicly owned electric utility, as defined in Section 224.3 of the Public Utilities Code.

(7) A city, joint powers agency, or special district, if that local entity uses the vehicle solely in the provision of sewer service, gas service, water service, or wastewater service.

California law also permits monitors in utility company vehicles and other emergency vehicles. Using video and monitors while operating private cars is not legal if the driver can view it, therefore be certain they are off while driving and operating a car or other motor vehicle. This prohibition also includes tablets, laptops and other similar devices.

In summary, in California violating vehicle equipment laws and using video screens and monitors to display prohibited content is punishable by law. Violators can get a traffic citation for distracted driving as well as receive other penalties.

 

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