Law enforcement cracking down on squatted trucks in Bay County

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – They’re big, they’re loud, and they’re getting a lot of attention from local police.

They’re called squatted trucks.

Dozens of them showed up in Bay County this weekend, and many left with traffic tickets. 

The ‘Carolina squat’ or ‘Sharking’ is a type of modification enthusiasts do to get a squatted truck look.

The front end is raised significantly while the back end remains unchanged or is even lowered. Some folks even install larger wheels, rims, and neon lights.

While people may have mixed opinions on the aesthetics of these alterations, law enforcement officials say they serve no practical purpose and can even be dangerous.

“What we run into is a headlight height, bumper height, and even fog light heights on the front of your vehicles. It’s a matter of how your headlights are projected down the roadway. But we’re also looking at safety. Imagine if a small Camry or Honda or any type of small sedan stops at a red light and you’re not able to see it,” said Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant Jason King.

In Florida, your headlights can only be between 24 and 54 inches from the ground. The bumper can only be between 22 and 30 inches from the ground. The range varies with the size of the vehicle.

Law enforcement officials even pull out tape measures.

“Even if you meet those regulations, those are dangerous as well. But yes, the ones that we cited were above those levels,” said Bay County Sheriff’s Office Captain Stephen Jencks.

During this weekend’s stop, officers found even more violations on some trucks, racking up even more tickets.

“I’m looking for multiple violations to say, hey, look, I’m not stopping you just because of one thing. I’m stopping you for multiple things and here’s what they are,” said King.

Some of these drivers are facing as much as $200 for each citation.

Bay County Sheriff’s Office Captain Stephen Jencks said the majority of violators were out-of-towners.

“I honestly didn’t see many locals with those vehicles. They were all from out of town, as far as I could tell. If you meet the regulations of the Florida state statutes, then you’re fine. But you should obviously look into what the state statute says as to what a safe vehicle needs to be,” said Jencks.

Jencks said Bay County Sheriff’s deputies handed out more than 200 citations this weekend for just height violations.

They say they also dealt with DUI’s and some street racing incidents.

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