I was just wondering how some of you folks deal with the Department of Motor Vehicles with regard to safety equipment. What about state inspections? What do you do if a police officer pulls you over because you don't have windshield wipers? Is there special exemption paperwork one can carry to show the officer and thereby get off the hook right on the spot? I would imagine the relevant ordinances differ from state to state, but just out of a desire to get educated on this subject, what's your experience in this area?
In the states we've resided your antique had to be equipped with what it came with from the factory. No wipers, no directionals, seatbelts, etc = you are exempt. No extra paperwork required.
I was once stopped by a highway patrol officer because of my YOM plate. After he was on his radio for about twenty minutes while somebody explained the law to him, I was on my way. I think this incident was an anomaly. Most traffic cops know that part of the law pretty well.
Most traffic officers understand the "grandfather clause".
I've always wondered about putting seat belts and turn signals on a "grand fathered" car.
If you're willing to comply with "some" modern laws, couldn't the DMV make you comply with all of them?
Here in New Jersey we are sposed to run the states QQ historic tags. I use my 1919 NY tags and keep the QQ's under the seat just in case. But I also mainley run my T around my summer place in northern NY. Jersey traffic isnt safe for a slow moving car. There's no inseption for my T, but I'm not sure about later model cars though.
Kansas is factory equipment.
Just act like you know what you are doing, stop worrying about it, and everything should be just fine.
It's the drivers you share the road with that you need to worry about, not the law.
There is no exemption in Calif for having at least two mirrors. The second mirror law was passed in late 1950s or early 1960s when a lot of cars had only singles. Aftermarket mirrors were low cost and easy to install, so no need for exemption. We discussed this extensively earlier this year.
The only equipment violation likely to cost serious money here is lack of a front license plate. They jumped the fine from $30 to $300 when the camera cops first appeared. It's no doubt much higher now. It's only $18 for new plates, which I gotta' buy before I get nailed. Can't remember when I lost the front one. They are so thin they fold back at cruise speed and get hit by the axle.
Proof of Insurance paper is a big deal here. It's a hefty fine if you don't have the paper in the car, and they may confiscate the car if you don't have ins, or aren't licensed. Dunno if that's had any real effect, but historically somebody didn't have insurance in a third of the accidents.
The tax squeeze is causing fines here to skyrocket. A neighbor kid says he got an $800 fine for rushing to his $10 an hour job in the carpool lane. He got nailed for another $800 a week later for no seatbelt.
I don't get angry anymore when I see drivers intentionally breaking the law. Sooner or later they'll be helping to pay my taxes.
In Wisconsin the plates are $200, but they are good for as long as you own the car. They do not have to be displayed, but have to be with the car. I have a 1919 plate on the front, and a name plate of my 90 year old aunt on the back. She loves having a car named after her.
In Washington state cars must be as originally equiped, however, if you put seatbelts in a car that did not originally have them, you are then REQIURED to use them or be ticketed.
In Oregon, it's as the car was equipped from the factory. I have added a brake light and will be adding turn signals. We only need ether historical plates or year of manufacture and of course proof of insurance.
I was stopped over the summer by a local "township" cop with nothing else better to do. Gave me a hard time for going to slow 25 mph on a 40 mph road (which was news to me..didn't know there was a lower speed limit except on the freeway) and for not having a electric tail light. Explained and showed him the kerosene lantern in the rear and told him it was my understanding it was grandfathered in...but he said there was no such thing and let me go.
Ended up installing a lamp in the kerosene lamp anyway for safety sake..but none the less that is the first time in 8 yrs that I've owned it and 30+ yrs prior family ownership that we ever were given a hard time.
Ralph, the front plate requirement was a problem for me a couple of years ago. I left my car on a parking lot in Torrance and came out to find a ticket on the window for no front plate and expired tag. I had to go to the Torrance PD station the next day and point out to them that Kansas is one of those states that don't issue front plates, and take an officer out to the car and point out to him the unexpired sticker on the plate. Barney Fife does get around.
I was curious about a ticket on a car parked next to where I pulled in at LAX, so I peeked. It was for no front plate. The plate was there, but it was below the bumper, and fatso didn't bend over or back away far enough to see it.
I was a little nervous when I left the car, as my 914 really didn't have a front plate.
In Ca. if you have seatbelts you must use them.
Also a stop light is required.
Right hand drive cars are required to have directional lights and a mirror on both sides as well as inside the car.
Ralph is mistaken. There is no requirement in California or any other state for any car to have rear view mirrors or any other non original equipment if that equipment was not required on the date the car was manufactured. This is some sort of imaginary law in the Ralph zone.
License plate laws are a different matter. California cops are strict about enforcement of actual laws.
Pretty strong claim, Royce the Belittler. You appear to have a poor memory, too. As you wrote, "It's an actual law."
From this Forum, 17 Oct 09, "Tags, Tags, Tags"
26709. (a) Every motor vehicle registered in a foreign jurisdiction and every motorcycle subject to registration in this state shall be equipped with a mirror so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway for a distance of at least 200 feet to the rear of such vehicle.
Every motor vehicle subject to registration in this state, except a motorcycle, shall be equipped with not less than two such mirrors, including one affixed to the left-hand side.
(b) The following described types of motor vehicles, of a type subject to registration, shall be equipped with mirrors on both the left-and right-hand sides of the vehicle so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway through each mirror for a distance of at least 200 feet to the rear of such vehicle:
(1) A motor vehicle so constructed or loaded as to obstruct the driver's view to the rear.
(2) A motor vehicle towing a vehicle and the towed vehicle or load thereon obstructs the driver's view to the rear.
(3) A bus or trolley coach.
(c) The provisions of subdivision (b) shall not apply to a passenger vehicle when the load obstructing the driver's view consists of passengers.
Amended Ch. 74, Stats. 1970. Effective November 23, 1970.
By Bill Dodd on Saturday, October 17, 2009 - 09:25 pm:
I just dug through my 2009 edition of the Calif Vehicle Code (now $8.00 at your friendly DMV) and read the section that Rick quoted AND the section pertaining to vehicles that qualify for horseless carrage plates. (section 5004) In that section it states under subsection (e) These vehicles shall NOT be exempt from the equipment provisions of Sections 26709, 27150 and 27600. Section 26709 is the sectiion Rick quoted earlier. The other two pertain to exhaust systems and fenders. Interestingly I saw no mention that I need a brake lite on my car. It is a 14 and has no brakelite.
Here's an important one for the fenderless:
Fenders and Mudguards
27600. No person shall operate any motor vehicle having three or more wheels, any trailer, or semitrailer unless equipped with fenders, covers, or devices, including flaps or splash aprons, or unless the body of the vehicle or attachments thereto afford adequate protection to effectively minimize the spray or splash of water or mud to the rear of the vehicle and all such equipment or such body or attachments thereto shall be at least as wide as the tire tread. This section does not apply to those vehicles exempt from registration, trailers and semitrailers having an unladen weight of under 1,500 pounds, or any vehicles manufactured and first registered prior to January 1, 1971, having an unladen weight of under 1,500 pounds.
Amended Ch. 215, Stats. 1970. Effective November 23, 1970.
If you are fenderless, it might be a good idea to carry this reference number and a certificate from a weigh station. Don't be surprised if your Speedster weighs more.
I gotta tell ya guys....I've been in law enforcement for 25 years or so. Most of the older guys wont give you anything but a wave. Some of the younger guys will stop ya but most wont have a clue what the law states in regards to vintage vehicles. In Wisconsin, before a certian date all trans 305 and motorvehicle laws are grandfathered. Our Speedster doesn't have fenders, a monical windshield, one tail light, no seatbelts and so on.
I had to have it inspected by the State Patrol, all I got was a grin and a signiture. Registered it as hobbiest.
I would guess every state is different, your car should meet your states requirements and it will be good in any state.
First, I apologize, Royce, for what you obviously posted in jest, and I took too serious.
I sat next to Chris the Fullerton Moto cop at Old Bold Pilots breakfast this morning, and he said the lack of a front plate is just a $10 fixit ticket, so instead of continuing on to AAA for new plates, I just came home. Can't remember now where I saw the $300 fine for no front plate.
Ricks and Aaron
Can you please identify the specific section of the California Motor Vehicle Code that verifies your statements. I have always been told that the vehicle only has to be equipped as manufactured for the specific year.
Again, Calif Vehicle Code 26709, above, summarized: All cars must have at least two mirrors to give full view to the rear, at least one being on the outside. If the inside mirror view is obstructed, then there must be an outside mirror on each side.
Again, per Bill Dodd, "..horseless carrage plates. (section 5004) In that section it states under subsection (e) These vehicles shall NOT be exempt from the equipment provisions of Sections 26709, 27150 and 27600.."
If Horseless Carriage plate holders are not exempt from the mirror law, then neither are any other old cars.
The California Vehicle Code Book is the size of a telephone book. There are hundreds of code sections dealing with old cars. There is no blanket exemption just because we are great historians. In California you need mirrors, a horn, a brake light, lights at night (gas is OK). I have reviewed the codes and there are some interesting laws in there.
I use http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html to look up various California Code when needed.
Ricks and Bill,
Thanks for the information on the Calif. Motor Vehicle Requirements.
Aaron and Ralph are correct and Royce is not. All California cars must have two mirrors one in the center and one on the left side and proof of insurance. Right hand drive cars must have three. Left, center, and right and also direction signals, no matter the year of manufacture, so our 1906 two cylinder Moline had direction signals, emergency flashers, and three mirrors. Oh yes and an audible horn. You may have gas lights but must have the mirrors etc.
If you do not have these things they will make you use d.o.t. approved equipment and that can be four inch diameter direction signals on the apex of each of your four fenders and huge mirrors. A Friend of mine had to do that to a right hand drive Pierce Arrow at great expense to put them on and then take them off to make it period correct.
I believe that it is the officer in charge's skills, knowledge, and attitude that is used when writing a citation. They follow the law to the best of their recollection and what they believed to be so.
Got stopped between Banning and Beaumont California while following a car that was emitting a lot of smoke in front of me. They said it was also for not having a front plate on our XKE Roadster that they observed when they did a walk around. They were never in front of me so this was not so. This happened in one of California's finest cherry picking fields (i.e. a place where they like to hunt for cars and drivers making errors) and had to re-attach it even though they do not fit on the front of an X K E. The big issue was for emitting smoke from the XKE's exhaust. Asked permission to prove that the engine didn't not emit smoke and that it was the car in front of me that did it. They agreed and I started it up and wound it up to about 4000 revs and backed it off with not a puff of smoke emitted. Then rapped the throttle several times with nothing but the beautiful purr coming out that XKE Jags make. No black smoke, no blue white smoke, and no oil small. Wiped my finger in each of those twin pipes that tucked under the tail and showed them my clean fingers with no soot or oil.
The officers were polite and cordial but the ticket stuck because the men with the helmets said it was so and so I had to take it to an inspection station to prove that it was not emitting smoke. I was doing 58 miles an hour when stopped and was in a 70 mile an hour zone. I was following an old car that was emitting smoke but the officer didn't see that part of the story. I didn't want to accelerate past the smoking car because I was being followed by a black and white. Catch 22 is the name of that game, call it entrapment if you will. The official folks in Long Beach laughed at me and signed off the ticket with no charge and told me that the officer must have been having a bad day. Such is life. Perhaps he didn't like biscuit colored leather seats in a dark green car on that day.
But there is more; I sent the signed off work order the Banning Highway Patrol offices and kept a photo copy of the original. Four months later got a bill for over $1200 for non-compliance. Called Sacramento because Banning would not talk and had to fax a copy to Sacramento. Then they said no problem the case is closed. I asked for a letter proving the case was closed so that I would not be on a want list and be stopped again and they said not necessary.
Even though there are 50 states and 50 different sets of laws, common sense should prevail when a person is trying to do the right thing or just minding their own business. But then there is again the fact that I believe that it is the officer in charge's skills, knowledge, and attitude that is used when writing a citation. They follow the law to the best of their recollection and what they believed to be so. and also that perhaps they don't like the color of your seats with the color of your car on that particular day.
I note with some relief that "foreign plated" vehicles only need one mirror in California. I wonder about the rest of these laws being quoted (brake lights, signal lights etc.) I am going to guess they are not needed. Certainly not the front plate as I live in a jurisdiction that only issues one plate.
Of course on my 1906 Cadillac I would be in trouble as I have no mirror. Of course after I get pulled over for speeding then all bets are off :-)
I had a 1904 Model B with a pressed steel front axle and babbeted wheel bearings and I agree.
If your horseless carrage is registered in Calif you better have 2 mirrors on it! The odd part is that if you use the car primarily for shows & exibitions then you do NOT need to add a brake light to a car that did not originally have one.
Its in the book...but you have to dig deep!
I read this as "every motor vehicle" means Model T's as well. It appears that one stop light is required for a pre- '58 vehcie:
24603. Every motor vehicle which is not in combination with any
other vehicle and every vehicle at the end of a combination of
vehicles shall at all times be equipped with stoplamps mounted on the
rear as follows:
(a) Every such vehicle shall be equipped with one or more
(b) Every such vehicle, other than a motorcycle, manufactured and
first registered on or after January 1, 1958, shall be equipped with
two stoplamps, except that trailers and semitrailers manufactured
after July 23, 1973, which are less than 30 inches wide, may be
equipped with one stoplamp which shall be mounted at or near the
vertical centerline of the trailer. If such vehicle is equipped with
two stoplamps, they shall be mounted as specified in subdivision
Factory equiped way down here in Victoria Australia too, although brake lights and small not so noticable turn signals ( for safety) are a good option.
We have had a few club members advise us with older cars that using Carbide generators and acetylene lights was illegal, but that like many so often told stories was prooved wrong, our RTA or DMV advises , if it came with that , that is the minimum required.
I guess we're all about the same as far as that part goes.
Merry christmas, drive careful in that snow.
Not that it matters, but I will dig through my current copy of the Calif DMV manual after everyone has had a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!. I believe the section mentioning the brakelight is in the definitiion area of a Horseless Carrage whatever section that is. One goes nuts flipping through the book to find all the quoted sections and subsections such as the paragraph about the mirrors.
Thanks Bill! My '13 doesn't have the brake light hooked up yet (or any mirrors or horn for that matter). I sure would like to be able to quote the exemption to law enforcement. Of course, I need to get the car running in the first place to even get a chance to get pulled over.
I am planning to install all of the above before any serious driving.
Antique cars are grandfathered in here. I paid around $12 to transfer my yom tag for an antique tag, it was a one time charge for the lifetime of the vehicle. The way I look at it is after 85 years of paying taxes on the '24 should be enough. Merry Christmas to all!
Back in the day when CB radios were all the rage, I used a temporary roof antenna with a magnetic mount. I wonder if there's such a thing as magnetic-mount stop-lights and directionals. And I wonder if that would work okay in a car with permanent magnets in the magneto.
You can get as set of magnetic tail and turn lights from harbor freight with a coupon for about $10.00, which would take care of the rear if you have a turnsignal/brake switch. They are made for a trailer but would stick to a frame or fender too! The bulbs would have to be changed to 6 volt.
Bob, I don't see why you couldn't make your own magnetic-mount lights. There are some good strong magnets on the market. I don't know about the magneto part, but I suspect it wouldn't be a problem.
It occurs to me you could also stick them on with modified bitumen roofing tar.
The magneto and its magnets couldn't care less if you stick magnets all over the outside of your car.
I took several cars to the California DMV to be inspected for serial numbers when I moved to that state in 1998. Of the 5 cars I brought only my '98 Ford pickup had a mirror on the passenger side. Never heard a word about it from the officers. Got pulled over in my '68 Cougar for not having a front license plate. No R/H mirror on the Cougar, Mercury did not even offer one as an option that year.
I think it would be interesting to challenge that law in court if it is indeed valid.
Merry Christmas everyone!!!!
We were on a tour of Big Bend National Park in March 2001 with 12 other Model T's. On the way to Santa Elena Canyon, we all stopped at the Costolon(sp) Ruins for a break. We were the last car in the line when the lady head ranger pulled up and told me that my license plate (1927 YOM) did not have a valid number per the Texas DMV. I showed her the current attached numbered tag and she talked to the Texas DMV about it on her hand held radio and finally gave up on me. Then she went to the car in front of me and questioned why my car had a brake light and his didn't. At this point a lot of arguing took place as she was challenging lack of windshield wipers and other trivia. It really turned into a circus. Finally she saw that one T had a slow moving vehicle triangle attached to the spare tire and said that we could go on provided that this be the last vehicle in the procession. (Note that the speed limit in this park is 45 MPH.} At this point, the tourmeister decided we should turn around and return to the hotel/RV park in Terlingua.
You might be mis-understanding the law in Calif. You need 2 rear view mirrors.. One must be on the left hand side. The 2nd mirror can be either inside (if the view is not blocked) OR on the right exterior or both.
Back in the 70's when I was on the HCCA National Board we formed an ad-hoc committee to repeal the Horseless Carriage license plates in California because the State of California wanted to tax the tax exempt cars with those plates in the same manner as boats and airplanes and other property is taxed. Those plates were white with red numbers and letting on them and now they are red with white lettering and numbers.
Please be careful when you sign on for a good deal, some times they bite you in the act. Now we pay a renewal fee each year and they are satisfied with it.
The old way we would have had a sliding scale and as the car got more valuable the rate would have increased with arbitration done through expensive official appraisals annually. Now you start out at the purchase price and decrease over ten years to a "fare" rate.
Interesting to read about the US legislation for motor vehicles.
Until some twenty years ago danish authorities where rather hostile to old cars and probably wanted them all off the streets if they could. Stop lights and flashers where the rule and you where not allowed to use traficators - not even if they where build in like they are in V8's from the 30's.
That have changed. First the clubs got the authorities persuaded that traficators was OK if they turn out and flash (and the car was from before 1951 I think). Stoplight is mandatory - like rear light and two of both though after the third stoplight in the rear windows showed up we can have a center stoplight as original on some cars as well.
The art is now to make that happen as discrete as possible and 2 filimen bulbs in the rear light may do it as rear light and stop light and you may even get away with the stoplight are combined with the rear flasher (red not amber in that case) if you can find a 6V flasherunit that supports this.
Side flashers are done with traficators which if bright enough in the bulb can do it for front flashers as well. Alternatively a small lamp on the fender can be used as flasher - white or amber. The english model T had fender lights for position light.
Currently I am puzzling with auxillery light - that is a white light in the front that is always on when you drive. The Swedes started with that when they in 1967 switched from driving in the left side to the right side of the roads. The idea by having the lights switched on waqs to remind each other to pass at the right and not the left.
It then turned out that a lot of accident types almost disappeared so that made the Swedes decide to keep the lights on.
Denmark adopted that sometime in the 1970's so everybody are driving with their lights on around here. Except old cars. They are allowed not to.
Reason is their weak generators not build for that continous load.
I have found a LED lamp for reverse light which works for 9 - 30V - just the voltage the magneto gives. Since my kerosena sidelamps do not have the burner, I will put the LED reverse lamps in and connect it to the magneto.
Why? Well, I drive pretty much in the car so I prefer to play at the same rules as the rest to the extent possible without destroying the car.
Oh yeah - last thing - today all cars fron before April 1st 1958 can get a "Historical licenseplate" which is a replica of the original from the time. They come in 5 different flavors depending on the year your car is from.
And when inspection became mandatory every second year, cars over 25 years only need every 8 year. And anual tax is 1/4 of the regular tax.
(My 1921 type license plate with the number it had when new)
In Canada we have had day time running lights since I guess about 1990. On new cars they are the high beam bulbs at 1/2 brilliance (wired in series I believe). However as with every other innovation, in Alberta if the car was not originally equipped with it, we do not need to add it. We need to get a safety inspection done the first time the car is registered in Alberta and buy permanent license plates. YOM are also legal. No annual fees. If the car was registered in Alberta even years ago AND YOU CAN PROVE IT with official documents then the safety is not required either. We cultivate the private mechanics who can do the safety inspections and fortunately have some in the local club
Ok that makes a bit of sense. Gad I am free of kookie California politics and nannie state mentality. Although Virginia is nearly as bad.
Calif adopted a good law last year that was in effect in New York state in 1995: whenever you run the wipers, the headlights must be on.
Missouri has the same wiper/headlight law. Of course, it doesn't apply to the T because there are no wipers....
Ohio just passed the headlight/wiper law on the tail of some other bill in Nov. Most likely so they can write more tickets. Jim
Why did Ohio take 15 years to pass a law that has been shown to reduce accidents in the next state? I'm surprised it hasn't been mandated by the NHTSA.
I wonder if any newer cars turn on the headlights automatically with the wipers? It could probably be added with a single diode at the fuse block.
I posted this for Steve Miller who can not post.
I am unable to post on mtfca.
The province of Ontario automobiles must have at least the equipment
as of the date of manufacture except the following.
Installation of safety glass
(3) No person shall install glass other than safety glass in the
door, window or windshield of any motor vehicle. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8,
s. 72 (3).
'26 Cdn coupe
Ralph, our '95 Cadillac automatically turns on the lights when the wipers have been on for a minute or so. Our '03 Explorer doesn't. Go figure.
It's an old story, some cars sticking with obsolete stuff long after others have moved on. My '51 Dodge truck has electric wipers, but Packard kept using those lame vacuum things clear through the 1955 models. They finally went to electric for the 1956 cars, when the company was circling the drain.
I'm just glad to live in Wisconsin. Seems less complicated.LOL
My 60 T-Bird had vacuum wipers.
What a pain.
I have only one mirror on my 1915 T. It was ok'd by the DMV with only one mirror. I'm leaving it that way. Ricks is correct with the two-mirror law, though. It is posted in the vehicle code book. But, the way I look at it, Ricks NEEDS at least 2 mirrors, and probably more. After all, he spends most of his time driving his T at 65mph and higher. At those speeds, a siren might be appropriate equipment!!!