Monster trucks have come a long way from their first appearance in the 1970s. From its humble beginnings, as tricked-out pick-up trucks and sports utility vehicles, it is now a specially-made vehicle constructed and used for entertainment purposes.
Yes, sir, these cars were made to catch the eye and literally crush the competition in the arena, but can you take these massive beasts on the streets?
What Makes a Vehicle Street Legal?
Street legal is a term used to refer to vehicles that can be ridden out on public roads. While you technically have the ability to ride any vehicle out on any street, there are certain regulations that limit which type of vehicles are allowed on certain public roads for the safety of drivers, pedestrians, and other drivers.
In the United States, a car that is considered street legal in one state can be illegal in another as each state has its own sets of rules and standards. However, general rules include the following:
- Horns must be heard even in distances of at least 200 feet.
- Windshields must have windshield wipers. Limits regarding tinting differ per state.
- Cars must have at least two side mirrors and one rearview mirror.
- License plates must be prominently displayed with lighting allowing for visibility from 100 feet.
- Tires must be installed to minimize the amount of dust and debris from flying towards others.
These rules among other regulations that may be implemented by your state serve as strict standards to ensure that everyone is kept safe when out on public roads and highways.
Are Monster Trucks Considered Street Legal?
Monster trucks are, unfortunately, not street legal. You can obtain a special permit to drive it around for competitions or exhibits, however, day-to-day use of these enormous trucks are not permitted.
From the name itself, these trucks are known for their overwhelmingly large sizes. A regular monster truck would usually be expected to occupy two lanes in an ordinary public road thus making them illegal.
Their frames heights and bumper heights often also go way beyond the restrictions of most states. This also makes it hard for them to move under and/or remain under certain posts or elevation limits that may be found in common streets and public structures like tunnels.
Their large builds can also potentially limit the view of their own drivers as well as block the view of surrounding drivers thus creating chances for a road accident.
Let it also be remembered that these trucks were made for crushing. Thus, other, smaller cars who might come their way could face risks of being crushed putting the surrounding passengers and drivers in great potential danger.
Probably most importantly, these vehicles do not have spaces for the proper viewing and display of license plates.
Despite their large size, these types of trucks usually lack a license plate bracket making it extremely hard for authorities to regulate and track these vehicles.
Other factors such as the lack of windshield wipers, improper tire designs, extremely loud mufflers, and lack of emission and exhaust systems among many others automatically render this beast of a vehicle, no matter how awe-inspiring it may be, illegal.
Can You Make a Monster Truck Street Legal?
While conventional monster trucks aren’t really allowed on public streets, you can still modify your own little truck to make a street-legal “monster truck” of your dreams.
Before doing any modifications, be sure to check with your state’s regulatory body on road safety and motor vehicles to ensure that your monster truck will not incur any violations as you make your modifications.
Each state has its own set of rules and standards that should be taken into consideration when constructing your truck. However, some general rules of thumb include the following:
- When constructing your truck, keep in mind that the vehicle width must not exceed 102 inches. The height should also be kept at a maximum of 13 feet and 6 inches and the overall vehicle length should not go past 40 feet.
- Wheels should not go past the body of the vehicle. If in case the wheels do pop out that far, you are required to install mudguards to keep material from being chucked at surrounding vehicles.
- Headlights should maintain a height of 22-45 inches from the ground only. Extra lights are not permitted.
- Make sure your vehicle does not make too much noise. This means installing a horn that isn’t excessively loud and making sure that your exhaust does not make those around you feel like they’re at a rally. This also means making sure that your sound system isn’t so noisy that people 50 feet away can still hear it loud and clear.
This, along with other regulations that your state may have such as keeping your brakes and exhaust pipes up to code are essential rules to keep in mind should you want to build your own little street-friendly monster truck.
Are There Ready-Made Street Legal Monster Trucks?
If you don’t want to go through the lengths and trouble of building and modifying your own monster truck, then good news: car manufacturers now also provide street-legal monster trucks in their lineups.
Due to their increasing popularity, many manufacturers such as Ford and Mercedes, among others, now manufacture these elevated, enormous vehicles that surprisingly fit all the requirements for it to be street legal while maintaining all the exciting features that make a monster truck what it is.
The design of these vehicles are reminiscent of the original roots of the monster truck as they resemble larger-than-usual pick-up trucks with tricked-out big wheels.
However, it is still highly recommended that you check with your state’s regulations before purchasing these cars as not all states consider them appropriate for use in public streets.
To cruise around town looking down on others from the comfortable seat of your very own monster truck is the dream.
However, these vehicles are still primarily used for only exhibition and entertainment purposes.
While you cannot drive the Big Foot or other similarly large trucks, you can still deck out your existing vehicle to a street-friendly monster truck or get your own street-legal trucks from licensed manufacturers.
At the end of the day, road safety is of utmost importance and regulations exist to make sure that we share the road and don’t place others at risk. Rest assured that the road is wide enough for your truckin’ dreams.