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How are rally cars road legal?

Discussion in 'Drivers License, Vehicle Registration' started by Taj H, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. Taj H

    Taj H Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    New Mexico
    I have heard that rally cars need to be road legal to drive from stage to stage, but how is that possible? They have roll cages, no airbags, no driving assists, racing harnesses and i’m sure there are some other illegal modifications done on the rally car. How are rally cars still road legal with all of these modifications?
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I guess it depends on the car and the specific state's rules involved.
     
  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Not really sure what this question means.

    For starters, please define the term "rally car."

    I'm not aware of any requirement for a car to have "driving assists." Nor can I think of any reason why it would be illegal for a car to have a roll cage or racing harness. The lack of airbags, however, might be a problem.

    I haven't the slightest idea. Maybe they aren't.

    When it comes to airbags, that's a matter of federal law, not state law.
     
  4. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I tried to cover that with "I guess it depends on the car..." ;)
     
  5. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    True race cars (including "rally cars") are often (heck, usually) transported on flatbed or enclosed trucks, or other specialized transport, not "driven" (outside of the race itself).
     
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  6. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    "I have heard" is one of the most dangerous phrases in the English language.
     
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  7. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    Roll cages, driving assists, racing harnesses aren't banned by law in any state I know of.

    Modifications to exhaust systems and many other mods are illegal in many states but in most states, it is unenforced.

    The removal of airbags by a dealer or shop is clearly illegal under federal law but it isn't so clear if it is illegal to take my airbag off my car. And it isn't like the feds are out checking.
     
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  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I am almost certain that your New mexico State Police, MVD NM, or county sheriff can provide you with the answers you seek.
     
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  9. Taj H

    Taj H Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Rally car - a type of car that competes in rally, a type of motorsport in which the car races over closed stretches of road.
    Most rallies (wrc is one) have their rules posted online, so you can check those if you want a more detailed description

    Roll cages, I recently found out are legal, but harnesses are not because they haven't been approved by the department of transportation.

    Sorry for not doing the proper research before posting. I guess all those hours of reading opinions about roll cages on car forums has made made me remember things incorrectly.
     
  10. Taj H

    Taj H Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Rally cars, unlike many other race cars do need to be street legal to drive in between stages.
     
  11. Taj H

    Taj H Law Topic Starter New Member

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    In case my knowledge is not enough to prove it, here is a website that can also prove it. 25 Most Asked Questions about rally cars
    “16. Can rally cars be street legal?
    Rally cars are road legal and registered cars, as during the road sections between special stages they need to drive on public roads and respect all the traffic rules. So, it won’t be against any rule, if you drive a rally car to work everyday, although we believe it won’t be really friendly for your wallet.“

     
  12. Taj H

    Taj H Law Topic Starter New Member

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    https://automodifying.com/are-racing-harnesses-street-legal/
    “Are racing harnesses street legal? Sadly, the answer is most likely no. In the United States, racing harnesses have not been approved by the Department of Transportation. Therefore, they’re not street legal. Only the seat belt installed at the factory would be considered street legal.“
    Not sure about the reliability of my sources but they can at least explain why I asked this question in thr first place
     
  13. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    No, it doesn't explain why you asked the question. What does it matter to YOU?
     
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  14. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    \
    But this isn't a legal question, but rather a rules question for the race/sanctioning body you are racing in. I spent years as a NASCAR official as well. The rules change from week to week at times.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
  15. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    Nobody said the harnesses replace the standard seatbelt. Every street-legal rally and modified AutoCross car I've seen that had them had both. But again it isn't like there is a huge enforcement effort.
     
  16. Taj H

    Taj H Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I was asking this question because I may build a rally car in the future and I am curious as to how rally cars can remain legal. By saying that it explained why I asked the question I meant that the contradicting sources (rally cars are legal and racing harnesses are illegal) led me to ask. I think I have my answer now so thank you and everyone else for replying to me (and sorry for being so vague with that “it explained why I asked the question”)
     
  17. Taj H

    Taj H Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yeah, that makes more sense. Now that I think of it, you could have a bypass system for driving assists too if those turn out to be required for road use.
     
  18. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    You haven't clearly articulated the difference between a "rally car" and any other car, but let's get back to the only two questions you've asked (which are basically the same question:

    The second question is phrased in a way that doesn't make much sense, but the bottom line is that any car that is driven on public roads must conform to all applicable rules. You haven't articulated any reason why a "rally car" could not be made to conform with all applicable rules. If it can't, then it can't legally be driven on public roads. How to accomplish that result is not an appropriate question for a legal message board.
     
  19. Taj H

    Taj H Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I’m sorry for not articulating my question well and for posting it on this website. I have learned my lesson and will think more about my questions before posting. Because this is not an appropriate question for a law forum, should I delete my question to stop people from diverting their time to answering my question, or leave it be? (I am not well versed in the social norms of online forums)
     
  20. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    Many cars have the ability to turn off driver-assists like anti-lock brakes and traction control from the factory. My bone stock 2006 Corvette is but one example.
     

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