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What's with these VA laws?

Virginia State Law regarding illegal equipment presents a problem. Some things included in illegal or improper equipment on cars are neon lights, decals in windows and cowl hoods. These are also things that car enthusiasts, especially teenagers, like to put on their cars. Laws are made to protect people. Therefore, if equipment is deemed illegal to be on a car, then it must be an endangerment to someone. Drivers who break these laws do so because they do not see any harm caused by their lights, stickers and other accessories.

Virginia laws should be changed regarding the use of neon lights and things that are considered obstructions of view. Accessories on cars should only be illegal if they are dangerous, and for an accessory or modification to be dangerous, it must impair the driverís capabilities. These accessories are not dangerous and should be legal.

There are certain criteria that must be met for an accessory to be considered dangerous. Neon lights are only a danger if they are turned on while driving down the road. Stickers are dangerous only if they directly block a driverís view. Cowl hoods do not block a driverís view even at their maximum height of five inches.

Some argue that the government knows more about vehicular safety than individual citizens do. Safety research gives the state this advantage. Also, there is information available on what kinds of dangers have caused previous traffic incidents that could serve as the basis for setting certain laws regarding improper equipment. Still others would argue that dangerous or not, these modifications are not needed and can be a problem, so they should be illegal. There has to be a line drawn somewhere. If certain modifications continue to be legal on vehicles, people will take advantage and the modifications will lead to potentially dangerous circumstances.

Laws regarding improper equipment should be looked at closer and changed because neon lights, window decals and cowl hoods do not affect a driver in a dangerous way. All of these items can be applied to a car without causing problems as long as the driver plays it smart the way he or she does when driving as usual. None of these accessories meet the criteria required to be considered dangerous.

Neon lights only have the potential to be dangerous if they are turned on while a car is in use on the road. The same applies to interior lights, reading lights and dome lights. All of these can be found in cars from the factory. It is legal to have the lights of course, but it is illegal to ride down the road with the interior lights on. The law regarding neon lights should be the same as this law. Neon lights are currently legal in Virginia only if they are on the interior of a car and the actual bulb is out of view. There is no need in such a strict law regarding these lights. There is no reason that neon lights cannot be safely used on the outside of a car. It should not matter whether a neon tube is in view or not. Neon lights do not cause any harm as long as they are used just as any other light on the vehicle, and are not turned on while driving down the road.

Decals and stickers can be dangerous only if they are placed directly in the view of a driver. Having a law that makes decals on back windows illegal is absurd. Many vehicles are much harder to see out of when they come from the factory. Some have no back windows at all. A sticker would have to be extremely large to cover a driverís view that is needed to operate a car. Most cars manufactured after 1986 have a third brake light located in the back window. However, it is rarely brought up that this factory addition could be a distraction, or an obstruction of view. At the same time, many rear window decals are smaller than the third brake light and are illegal because they supposedly block a driverís view. Obviously anything placed on the windshield directly in front of a driver impairs that driverís vision and may create a dangerous situation. Yet state inspection stickers and county stickers are closest to the driverís field of vision on the windshield. Nothing else may be placed on the windshield. If it is so dangerous to add anything there, then why are inspection stickers and county stickers placed there? Stickers placed above the rearview mirror of a car are illegal and will not pass inspection. This is ridiculous as will because the only thing that an obstruction of view above a rearview mirror can block is the sky, which a driver should not be worried about looking at. The rearview mirror itself can be considered a danger if it is looked at that way. Aftermarket strips of tint across the top of a windshield are illegal and usually result in being pulled over and/or ticketed. Factory tint up there is considered okay though, even though there is no difference. The tint above a rearview mirror makes driving safer because the sun is blocked from view. There should be no laws regarding where decals are placed, within logical boundaries.

A cowl hood is an aftermarket body part. It is a hood that starts at the front like a normal hood, but then rises in the middle to form a hump going up to where the hood meets the windshield. Many people like the looks of these hoods. They are legal, as long as the hood does not exceed a height of 2 ĹĒ tall. However, the majority of these hoods are three inches tall at the smallest. The largest cowl hood that can be purchased is five inches tall. It should be legal for even a five-inch cowl hood to be placed on a vehicle. A difference of 2 ĹĒ is rarely ever going to make a difference of being dangerous or not. Some cars have large hoods that are hard to see over from the factory. It is also important to note that the county and state inspection stickers are applied to the windshield of a car in the exact spot that a cowl hood covers, even a five inch one. If these stickers do not obstruct the view of the driver then neither do cowl hoods.

There is little to no reason for Virginia State Law to make aftermarket additions such as neon lights, decals and cowl hoods illegal. They do not impair the abilities of drivers. Vehicle owners who are car enthusiasts enjoy the use of such aftermarket additions. Improper equipment should be things that are dangerous, not things that are outlawed just so that some party can benefit from anotherís misfortune. These laws need greater explanation as to why they exist, or they need