Those who love the thrill of driving a Jeep may be wondering whether they can expect to be pulled over by law enforcement for driving a car with no doors. The short answer is that driving a car with no doors is legal in most states. However, Jeep drivers must ensure that their vehicle remains compliant with state laws requiring drivers to have either two-side or one-side view mirrors. Their Jeeps must also meet other state requirements.
Anyone considering investing in a doorless Jeep like the Jeep Wrangler, for instance, may be wondering whether it is a wise investment, what the safety concerns are, and the legal implications of driving a vehicle that does not have doors. Here is everything there is to know about doorless cars and the local laws that apply.
Do Most Vehicles Have Removable Doors?
The truth is that not all cars have removable doors because this is not very practical. There is a reason why certain doors are removable while others are not. A vehicle with no detachable doors is often safer. Given that vehicles without mirrors and doors are more likely to disobey the law and be hauled over by law enforcement, it's only natural that manufacturers design modern vehicles that adhere to the rules.
Why Some Jeeps Do Not Have Doors
Jeeps were initially built as military vehicles, which most people are unaware of. Traditionally, they had a textile top that could be removed and textile doors that could also be removed. This is because, in war and conflict regions, these doors and rooftops had to be easily removable to make entry and exit easier for the troops.
Keep in mind that Jeeps do come standard with doors, but the majority of drivers opt to have them removed. Some individuals prefer the feel and look of not being confined in their vehicles. Those who travel in a Jeep, whether as a driver or a passenger, know it is a unique experience. It is unlike anything else, and it makes a trip down the road feel like an exciting adventure. Anyone who drives a Jeep knows the thrill of taking on off-road obstacles, especially on a Jeep without doors, but is it completely legal to travel in a Jeep without doors?
Is It Legal to Drive a Jeep Without Doors in Every State?
Whether it is legal to drive without doors depends on the state in which this vehicle is to be driven. In the United States, it is normally legal to detach the doors from a Jeep at home and travel along public roads without them. However, this is permissible, as long as the driver adheres to government vehicle equipment regulations.
The Only State That Has Outlawed Doorless Vehicles
Pennsylvania is the only state where this is legally outlawed. No driver is permitted to remove their doors and travel in the state of Pennsylvania in a doorless car. All motor vehicles constructed and certified with doors as standard equipment must be driven with the doors attached according to Pennsylvania traffic laws.
Half doors and other similar alternatives are also acceptable under this law, as long as they are identical to the standard doors that came with the vehicle. A motor vehicle can fail an inspection if its doors are not fixed and functional. The exception to this rule is if the car's top has been removed. In this case, the vehicle's doors need not be functional. Drivers are fined if they are traveling along Pennsylvania roads in a vehicle with doors that are not attached and functional.
The Consequences of Removing Doors
When removing the doors, the vehicle's side mirrors are removed too. According to government regulations, all vehicles must have side mirrors when traveling on public roads, so drivers must reattach their mirrors to ensure that they are compliant with local rules.
Some states only require that cars have one mirror that enables the driver to see the road ahead of them without being obscured. Others specify one side mirror and one rearview mirror. Some states simply indicate that two mirrors are required, but do not specify where they must be placed. These fixtures are attached to the doors, so if a driver decides to remove his doors, he may need to find an alternative means to attach mirrors to the vehicle.
State Laws Regarding Mirrors
One of the greatest concerns that drivers of Jeeps without car doors have is whether their vehicle is compliant when it comes to mirrors. When a door is removed, the side-view mirror is removed along with it, which can raise several safety concerns. While some states require drivers to have just one mirror, others require two mirrors in order for a vehicle to be considered street legal.
States that require vehicles to have one mirror:
States that require vehicles to have two mirrors:
Some States Require Drivers to Have Side Mirrors and a Rear View Mirror
A few states have their own set of rules. Ohio, for example, is the only state that requires all vehicles to have three mirrors in order to be considered road-worthy. This includes both side mirrors and a rear view mirror.
States That Only Require Vehicles to Have an Interior Rearview Mirror and a Side-view Mirror
To be in accordance with state legislation, states including New York, Kentucky, Maryland, and Kansas all require the installation of a side mirror on the left side of the vehicle and an interior rearview mirror.
Other States-specific Laws Regarding Mirrors
Mirrors are only required in Michigan and Nevada if a car is larger than a specified size. In the state of Missouri, any car that was built or manufactured before 1968 is not legally required to have any mirrors. However, any car built after that must have the same number of mirrors as the manufacturer installed.
Attaching Side-view Mirrors to a Jeep Without Doors
There are a wide variety of additional Jeep mirrors sold in stores for every model of Jeep. Drivers may purchase aftermarket car mirrors designed to fit into the door hinges of a Jeep. Alternatively, drivers may purchase mirrors that attach to a portion of the vehicle's body paneling or windshield. These mirrors are often sold with brackets that make installation easy. With just a few bolts, drivers can easily install these aftermarket mirrors on their own.
Here are a few suggestions on repositioning the right and left side-view mirror on Jeeps without doors.
On the Door Hinges
Another popular area for the relocation of side mirrors is on the door hinge. This is one of the most affordable solutions, and it also allows for fast and easy installation and removal. The biggest disadvantage of this choice is that the mirrors are positioned significantly lower than the factory versions that attach to the removable doors.
Nevertheless, this is the ideal option for those searching for the simplest way to comply with state rules. However, it is essential to remember that it does come with reduced visibility and potentially more problems when traveling on highways because it often produces vibration and wind noise.
On the Windshield Pillar
Side mirrors installed on the windshield pillar tend to do a much better job of putting the side view mirrors in a higher position, closer to the location of the factory mirror. Many windshield pillar mirrors are also supplied with a fast-release bracket that attaches to the pillar with frame bolts. The first installation is easy, and it allows the door hinge system to be readily removed and reinstalled.
While the windshield pillar mirror option may appear to be the best, it does have certain disadvantages. Because the mirrors protrude far away from the Jeep's frame, there can be a substantial amount of vibration and wind noise. This is also one of the more costly options.
In the Same Position as the Stock Mirror
It is advisable to mount side mirrors in the same location as the Jeep's stock mirror. This is where the manufacturer (Jeep) found the appropriate height and positioning for the mirror, determining the optimal driver visibility. Drivers can install them by putting brackets onto the side panel of the Jeep at the same position as the factory mirrors.
On Tube Doors
Another alternative is to mount the mirrors on two tube doors. In this case, the mirrors can be relocated directly in most Jeep tube doors. Drivers may not have to invest in new mirrors, but they may have to invest in tube doors, which is a lot more expensive. However, those planning on using tube doors as an added safety feature should choose this method.
The Dangers of Driving a Car That Has No Car Doors
While riding in a car that has had its doors removed may be a lot of fun, it can also be risky and inconvenient compared to regular cars. Here are some of the safety concerns to consider.
Exposure to the Elements
It is vital to assess the weather in the region the car is to be used in before removing the car doors. Using a car with no doors may be ideal for someone who lives in an area where it rarely rains.
Those who reside in an area where it rains frequently may not want to go for a doorless vehicle. Although a few Jeep models are watertight to a certain extent, exposing a vehicle's interior to water is never a smart idea.
Additionally, if a driver is caught in a storm in a car without doors, it may be incredibly difficult for him to concentrate on driving because of the rain flooding in through the open doors. This can put the driver, their passengers, and other drivers on the road in danger.
Poor Accident Protection
When the doors are removed, the occupants of a vehicle lose protection during side-impact collisions with other vehicles or off-road barriers. The doors of modern cars are usually made of reinforced aluminum or reinforced steel, and they serve as the first line of defense for passengers and drivers. They provide crucial protection from injury and keep a vehicle's occupants from being thrown out of the vehicle during a collision.
Older Jeeps may lack modern safety measures such as seatbelts. Be conscious of the safety features of the Jeep before hitting the road. It is vital to ensure that it is as safe it can be and meets state requirements. The poor accident protection removing car doors results in may not be worth the risk, even though the vehicle may be considered to be street legal. It can be especially dangerous for car accidents such as side swipe car damage. This can possibly lead to the drivers and passengers involved sustaining injuries like nerve damage caused by car accidents.
Additionally, removable doors contain factory mirrors. When these are removed, they can make a vehicle more prone to accidents because side mirrors are often not positioned in the ideal position without doors present.
Expect More Attention from Law Enforcement
Removing the doors on a Jeep that is not a Wrangler or something similar can earn drivers more attention from law enforcement. Authorities may stop drivers regularly to assess the condition of their vehicles. Even if drivers are not breaking the law, driving without doors may not be worth the effort if the police officers in the region frequently stop cars that have no doors.
This is a decision drivers must make, and a call to the local sheriff's office or police station can provide further information about the general view of local law enforcement agents towards Jeeps with removable doors.
Need More Information? Contact Powell Law Firm Today!
Those who enjoy traveling in a Jeep without doors may be happy to hear that purchasing Jeep models without doors, like the Jeep Wrangler, is, in fact, legal, as long as it has enough mirrors and adheres to state laws.
To find out more about state laws regarding vehicles and their compliance with state laws, contact Powell Law Firm. Those involved in a car accident involving doorless Jeeps can contact the firm to find out what specific rules are in play in their case. An experienced vehicle accident lawyer in St Louis from Powell Law Firm can also help victims of car accidents prepare and file a personal injury lawsuit. Book a free case evaluation with the firm today!