Raleigh, NC asked in Car Accidents for North Carolina

Q: In north carolina can i drive my car with no bumper. All lights work and are intact

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2 Lawyer Answers
Bill Powers
Bill Powers
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina


You've stumped this lawyer. North Carolina seems to focus on safety equipment such as lighting, brake lights, windshield wipers (if it's raining), etc. If a bumper wasn't properly affixed/attached and/or about to fall off, law enforcement likely could conduct a stop.

Chapter 20 does not specifically mention the requirement of a bumper, at least as far as I can tell. If someone knows of a General Statute requiring a bumper, please speak up.

See: https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/BySection/Chapter_20/GS_20-129.pdf

A Safety Inspection in NC mentions wheels, tires, sounding horn, lights, emissions, etc. Again, no mention of bumpers:

§ 20-183.3. Scope of safety inspection and emissions inspection.

(a) Safety. - A safety inspection of a motor vehicle consists of an inspection of the following equipment to determine if the vehicle has the equipment required by Part 9 of Article 3 of this Chapter and if the equipment is in a safe operating condition:

(1) Brakes, as required by G.S. 20-124.

(2) Lights, as required by G.S. 20-129 or G.S. 20-129.1.

(3) Horn, as required by G.S. 20-125(a).

(4) Steering mechanism, as required by G.S. 20-123.1.

(5) Windows and windshield wipers, as required by G.S. 20-127. To determine if a vehicle window meets the window tinting restrictions, a safety inspection mechanic must first determine, based on use of an automotive film check card or knowledge of window tinting techniques, if after-factory tint has been applied to the window. If after-factory tint has been applied, the mechanic must use a light meter approved by the Commissioner to determine if the window meets the window tinting restrictions.

(6) Directional signals, as required by G.S. 20-125.1.

(7) Tires, as required by G.S. 20-122.1.

(8) Mirrors, as required by G.S. 20-126.

(9) Exhaust system and emissions control devices, as required by G.S. 20-128. For a vehicle that is subject to an emissions inspection in addition to a safety inspection, a visual inspection of the vehicle's emissions control devices is included in the emissions inspection rather than the safety inspection.


Again, great question!

Bill Powers

Criminal Defense Lawyer Charlotte NC

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Wyomissing, PA

A: You may be technically correct--but having stumped the trooper, the trooper may say "well, let's check the rest of your vehicle." And if that's clean, you can bet (s)he'll have a special memory of you, your vehicle, if he lives in your area all the vehicles in your household.

You won the battle! But you forgot not everyone likes a wise guy. Ticket, ticket, ticket, ticket, dripping like rain down your neck.

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