Calif. code has Depot policing vehicle mods
By Lance Cpl. Jess Levens
| | December 12, 2003
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego has signed off on California Vehicle Code 24008 regarding vehicle modifications and vehicle clearance from the roadway, making it not just California state law, but also an official Depot Law Enforcement, which combines many CVC's into one consolidated order.
Violations of these set regulations are subject to penalization by the Provost Marshal's Office.
"(The Depot Law Enforcement) has specific guidance on the requirements that vehicles must meet in order to receive Department of Defense decals," said 1st Lt. Lenore Osgood, deputy provost marshal. "Numerous safety and other standards, many prescribed by CVC's, are contained in the document. This is one more measure to ensure that the vehicles driven by our Depot community are within safety standards."
The Depot almost always adheres to state vehicle regulations, according to Staff Sgt. Johnny Chavera, vehicle registration staff noncommissioned officer in charge, PMO, and making these state regulations into Depot regulations is standard procedure.
CVC 24008 says it is unlawful to operate any passenger vehicle, or commercial vehicle under 6,000 pounds, which has been modified from the original design so that any portion of the vehicle, other than two wheels, has less clearance from the surface of any level roadway than the clearance between the roadway and the lowermost portion of any rim of any wheel in contact with the roadway.
This means that vehicles cannot be lowered so that the bottom of the frame is lower than the lowest rim on the vehicle.
CVC 24008.5 explains the maximum height limitations for lifted vehicles. All passenger vehicles, except house cars, are not to exceed a vertical distance of 23 inches from the ground to the bottom of the body frame.
For all other vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 7,500 pounds or less, the maximum height is 27 inches. Vehicles with a GVWR of 7,501 to 10,000 pounds must not exceed 31 inches.
Measurements are made in the center of the vehicle between the front and rear wheels.
"I lifted my truck six inches," said Cpl. Blaine Spry, directives control chief, Depot Adjutant's Office. "I like to sit high when I drive, plus I like the aggressive look it gives the truck. I do understand why we have regulations though. A truck that's lifted too high is easy to roll over, and it can be really hard to see lower vehicles."
Part of the regulation directs that PMO deny vehicle registration for all vehicles in violation. Furthermore, a fix-it ticket will also be issued. A fix-it ticket gives the vehicle owner five days to fix the violation, whether the vehicle is too high or too low.
"Many Marines can't fix the problem in that time period," said Chavera. "They can ask PMO for an extension and they are almost always granted. We understand it can be difficult, so we are lenient. But the vehicle owner must contact PMO and ask for the extension."
If the deadline for the repair is not met, PMO will issue a Military Traffic Citation to the owner. This citation will result in a visit to Traffic Court, and the punishments may vary between having points taken from the driving record, to having on-base driving privileges suspended, according to Chavera.
The new order is currently in effect and violations will be dealt with, according to Osgood.
Ride Regs (High and Low)
Vertical Limits (High):
31 inches - when GVWR* is 7,501 to 10,000 pounds
27 inches - when GVWR* is 7,500 pounds or less
23 inches - for all passenger vehicles
*gross vehicle weight rating
Frame Clearance (Low):
Vehicles cannot be lowered so that the frame's bottom is lower than the lowest rim.