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  • Writer's pictureTom Fowler

Is it Illegal to Drive Without a Front Bumper?

Updated: Feb 24, 2022

Kids think that the bumpers of their cars are meant to bump into their playmate’s vehicles. That’s why adults are the only people allowed to maneuver an actual vehicle. Bumpers are not designed for no reason. They are constructed to protect the driver and reduce damage in the event of a car crash. It is also considered the central part of the car, just like its door. It is illegal to drive without front and rear bumpers in most countries, resulting in ticket issuance.

The importance of front bumpers

The Importance of Front Bumpers

Like superheroes, cars also have a shield, and it’s called a “bumper.” Plastic, rubber, aluminum, and steel are some materials used to construct a bumper. Automobile bumpers can be found at the rear and front end of the car. In a low-speed collision, the front and rear bumper absorb the impact or the damage, thus, giving the car occupants lesser injury. Other bumpers featured in new car models have foam cushioning materials for better absorption of low-speed impact.

Despite that, keep in mind that front and rear bumpers are not designed to protect the driver from road accidents. They are intended to cover and protect essential car components, including the cooling and exhaust system, fuel, grill, trunk, and hood. For the past few years, front and rear bumpers are made from steel bars. Considering the evolving technology and trend, most front or rear bumpers these days are coated with the same paint as the car's body. This makes the vehicle more appealing. This is beneficial for drivers in most states since it is illegal to drive without a bumper.

The Importance of a Front and Rear Bumper

The car has two bumpers: the first one is in the front, and the other is on the rear end. A rear bumper is essential to keep the passenger's safety when something bumps the car from behind.

It is very tempting to drive a car without either a front or rear bumper. But doing so could cause the driver to face a specific penalty. Proper installation of front and rear bumpers is an essential requirement that keeps the person safe from severe injuries in case of a car crash. Proper bumper installation means that the front and rear bumpers are attached to the vehicle securely. If glued or taped, the bumper will fail the safety inspection.

Is it illegal to drive a car without a front and rear bumper? The answer is yes. It is illegal as it does not only cause traffic jams but also puts the driver at risk for lots of problems. If the bumper has jagged edges, it could make one's vehicle illegal to drive or operate on main roads. The good thing is that many modern bumpers have already matched their color to the car’s body. This adds to the aesthetic value of the car effortlessly. Drivers must ensure that their vehicles are street legal to operate them without worrying about possible road tickets or paying a fine.

Most States Require Rear and Front Bumpers

Most state road authorities imply that it is illegal to drive a vehicle without a front bumper. This means that operating a car on the road without a bumper could affect one’s license level. According to the federal regulations in San Francisco, California, section 28071 of Article 11.5 of the Vehicle Code, “Every passenger vehicle registered in this state shall be equipped with a front bumper and with a rear bumper. As used in this section, “bumper” means any device designed and intended by a manufacturer to prevent the front or rear of the body of the vehicle from coming into contact with any other motor vehicle.” But there is an exception in this law, including those cars that didn’t feature a front and rear bumper, such as trucks. Aside from California, most states have stringent traffic laws in terms of driving a passenger vehicle.

Laws on driving without a bumper

Driving Without a Bumper is Strictly Prohibited in Most States

In many states, police officers and traffic agents are on the lookout for those drivers who operate their cars without bumpers. Bumpers are an essential safety feature of a vehicle. Driving without a bumper is considered unsafe. It can cause the driver to experience a severe injury after an accident or car crash. If this happens, contact injury law offices near you. Remember, most states do not allow anyone to drive a car in “unsafe condition” or its components start to show defects. Missing, unsafely attached, or damaged bumpers can make one's car illegal. So, make sure that the front and rear bumpers are connected to the vehicle's chassis or frame securely. Police officers may issue a ticket to drivers who are found operating unsafe cars.

If the car's bumper is damaged, it should be replaced immediately instead of trying to repair it, similar to its mirrors. Although damaged bumpers can still be repaired, there is no guarantee that they will maintain their structural integrity. But other bumper parts can be fixed quickly, such as the rear bumper covers, as they are usually made from plastic. Remember that the actual bumper is located under the bumper cover. So, it is expected that a bumper cover is more prone to damage. Therefore, repairing rather than replacing it could be beneficial for drivers on a budget. One can find cheap yet quality front and rear bumpers in a local car body shop to replace damaged components. This would help anyone to make their car legal to drive. In addition, most jurisdictions show that all drivers are legally required to attach their license plates on both ends of their vehicle. If the car does not feature a bumper, the driver must find another spot on their car to attach their plates.

Insurance Implications of Driving Without Bumper

Although some drivers deal with an understanding traffic agent or police officer, there’s a high chance that driving without a bumper could negatively affect one’s car insurance, similar to driving with a cracked windshield. Driving cars in unsafe conditions might void the driver’s car insurance contract. This means that they will become more vulnerable when an accident happens. Thus, it is a must for every driver to fix their car bumpers before operating them on the street. Aside from breaking specific laws, driving a car without bumpers could lead someone into financial or legal trouble. When that happens, it is essential to talk to accident law offices for legal advice. An attorney would help the driver get out of the trouble they caused.

Final Thoughts

It is illegal to drive a vehicle without front and rear bumpers. Before operating a vehicle, make sure that the car's bumper, windows, rearview mirror, and side-view mirrors are fully equipped and in good condition. To avoid receiving penalties, make sure to follow the law. When driving in a new country, be sure to study their driving laws.

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