Obeying vehicle modification laws
by Ruben San Miguel & Tami Troell
Jul 07, 2014 | 472 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Have you ever been stopped when you thought that you should not have been – you weren’t speeding and even had on your seatbelt?

“Probable (Reasonable) Cause” is the legal term used in law enforcement that allows them to stop a driver when charges are being considered. One area that many drivers do not consider is that of vehicle modifications. There are numerous modifications that are considered unsafe and therefore illegal, giving an officer probable cause to stop you. The illegal modifications are so numerous that we will address them for the next several weeks.

Sunscreening or tinting may be legally added to a standard vehicle but must follow the state guidelines. Tinting may not extend below the AS-1 line or 5 inches from the top of the front windshield – if there is no AS-1 line. Sunscreening may not be red, amber or blue in color.

The front driver and passenger windows may not be tinted darker than to allow 25 percent light to pass through. All other side windows are exempted from regulation under state law.

The rear window may be tinted as well. The only limitation on this is if the vehicle is not equipped with outside side mirrors that reflect a view of at least 200 feet to the rear of the vehicle. If no mirrors are in place, the rear windows must transmit at least 25 percent light.

Aftermarket car accessories must conform to state law. Drivers may not install any device that impairs the required effectiveness of headlamps, tail lamps (red light visible at a distance of 1,000 feet from the rear), stop lamps (emit a red or amber light that is visible in normal sunlight at least 300 feet from the rear), turn signals (visible from 300 feet from the front or rear), or reflectors (visible at all distances from 100 to 600 feet with low beams and 100 to 350 feet with high beams).

The illegal accessories include, but are not limited to, any colored or frosted covering applied over the vehicle lamp(s). Please know that just because you can purchase the accessory either in a store or online does not mean that it is legal to apply it to your vehicle.

Since 1934, Texas state law requires, with few exceptions, that motor vehicles must display front and rear plates that are visible so that all characters are unobstructed. These plates must be securely fastened in a horizontal position of not less than 12 inches from the ground.

All illuminated license plate frames, especially the neon ones, are not legal. You may also not install any covers that obstruct the “Texas” logo on the top of the plate by half or more – no covering (clear or otherwise) over the plate is allowed, either.

The aforementioned illegal modifications are only some of the possible changes that can be made. Drivers who choose to modify a vehicle without first checking the legalities of the changes face citations and fines up to $200.

If you have a question about traffic laws, you can submit them to, or
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet