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Old 06-06-2013, 04:55 PM   #1
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Is removal of 3rd break light legal?

I am putting on a rear bumper this weekend. I was planning on just leaving the 3rd break (tire break light) light off. Then I started to wonder if it is a legal thing. Anyone here have an idea? I know it might be a "state by state" issue (I am in NC) , but any feed back would help.

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Old 06-06-2013, 05:12 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Green Monster
I am putting on a rear bumper this weekend. I was planning on just leaving the 3rd break (tire break light) light off. Then I started to wonder if it is a legal thing. Anyone here have an idea? I know it might be a "state by state" issue (I am in NC) , but any feed back would help.
I don't have one and I am fine. Have had it for a couple of years. Im in Charlotte.

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Old 06-06-2013, 05:42 PM   #3
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Thanks man, that was the input I was looking for. I guess you didn't have any problem with inspection? If it is not a fail on inspection than I doubt it is needed to be legal.
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Old 06-06-2013, 05:51 PM   #4
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I know NJ law is that you need a 3rd break light cause I've thought about removing mine. I'd look into it before takin out the tools.
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:13 PM   #5
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NC Statute 20-129, part (g):
"No person shall sell or operate on the highways of the State any motor vehicle, motorcycle or motor‑driven cycle, manufactured after December 31, 1955, unless it shall be equipped with a stop lamp on the rear of the vehicle. The stop lamp shall display a red or amber light visible from a distance of not less than 100 feet to the rear in normal sunlight, and shall be actuated upon application of the service (foot) brake. The stop lamp may be incorporated into a unit with one or more other rear lamps."

Which says you do not have to have it and can remove it yourself, however part (d) of the same statute states:

"Rear Lamps. Every motor vehicle, and every trailer or semitrailer attached to a motor vehicle and every vehicle which is being drawn at the end of a combination of vehicles, shall have all originally equipped rear lamps or the equivalent in good working order, which lamps shall exhibit a red light plainly visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of 500 feet to the rear of such vehicle..."

With special emphasis on "...shall have all originally equipped rear lamps or the equivalent in good working order...", which says you have to technically have it... or rather that you can't remove it. I do not THINK you'd be stopped for it, certainly not in a YJ or CJ, but maybe by a cop in a TJ if he was snooping and pretty sharp. I'd probably stop ya, were I a cop, in a JK without one.

What a non answer, lol. Best I can do.
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by The Green Monster
Thanks man, that was the input I was looking for. I guess you didn't have any problem with inspection? If it is not a fail on inspection than I doubt it is needed to be legal.
Never received a failed inspection for the 3rd light deal.
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:19 PM   #7
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However you do need the front fenders for inspection because of the gay side markers. -_-
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:21 PM   #8
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All cars, SUVs, whatever that were manufactured after 01/01/1996 and sold in the U.S. were required to have a third BRAKE (not "break") light as original equipment. Since that is part of the original factory safety equipment you could probably get in trouble if it was removed. However, as has already been posted, the law is not always enforced.
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:34 PM   #9
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^True but how many people honestly know that? Other than.... Gasp..... A lawyer? 👨🔫
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:52 PM   #10
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I found another thread on a local forum. It's seems to be ok in NC as long as it is not broken. Consensus seems to be absent ok, broken no good. This is here in NC.
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by The Green Monster
I found another thread on a local forum. It's seems to be ok in NC as long as it is not broken. Consensus seems to be absent ok, broken no good. This is here in NC.
Yep.
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:17 PM   #12
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i wouldnt worry so much about it being legal or not, id worry about insurance implications. if you remove a safety device you can be held liable. whether you are at fault or not. so you are rear ended by someone and you removed your 3rd brake light, it becomes your fault for being a safety device. insurance companies low to not cover things if they find our something in a safety aspect was removed. they can choose not to cover it because you broke terms and conditions
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:39 PM   #13
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Not having a 3rd brake light is not legal but it is also something you can probably not expect to get a ticket for unless:
  1. The police is looking for an excuse to pull you over.
  2. You are pulled for somethine else and they'll say "and also you have no 3rd brake light for an aditional fine."
BTW if you go to court and qoute me, I will deny this conversation took place.
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:11 PM   #14
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Just take it off if you don't want it on. If a cop wants to pull you over, trust and know that he/she will find a reason to stop you.. Trust me on this. Stay out of "the hood" and don't drive like an ass in front of a police car. That's when you get stopped and written a POP ticket. (Pissed Off the Police). In the event you do get stopped always remember to be polite, because attitude usually goes a long way... Besides, what cop would want to pull someone over that's driving a jeep anyway? If you drive a jeep you're already cool and awesome by default!
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:44 PM   #15
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Well I am a 37 yr old school teacher, so I don't have any dealings with the Law. I live in rural country and rarely go more than 3-4 over. I think I will risk it.
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Old 06-07-2013, 12:09 AM   #16
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I'm a cop in NC and as long as you have ONE working brake light you are fine...I think the insurance thing is all you would have to worry about, if anything-
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Old 06-07-2013, 12:19 AM   #17
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Just do what I did moved the tag to the center and took two motorcycle tag lights that have red lights on them also and good to go. the tag lights i found on amazon are also the tag bolts that hold the tag on.
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:46 AM   #18
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insurance implications. if you remove a safety device you can be held liable. whether you are at fault or not.
This is the bigger issue. Yeah a cop might ticket you, but if you put it back on the judge very well may reduce or eliminate the ticket. But if you get hit, the other insurance company/attorney is going to show that your vehicle had been modified and increased the risk or lead to the accident. Is that a long shot? Yep, just like gambling.
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Old 06-07-2013, 02:08 AM   #19
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its less of a long shot than you might think. its something insurance agents are trained to look for. when i was t-boned by a tractor in one of my VWs my insurance pay out was double because of the fact he has no blinkers which is a requirement if being used on the road.

its more common than you might think. say for example you change you steering wheel (popular in cars) to something without an airbag and you get hit by someone and messed up because of it, they wont cover anything that happened to you because of having no airbag
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Old 06-07-2013, 04:59 AM   #20
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I am a State Trooper in NC and the above poster nailed it. In NC General Statute states one must have one working taillight. NC Court also ruled that a burned out brake light is not enough for a vehicle stop. However, a burned out tail light or license plate marker is grounds for a vehicle stop.

OP, I also removed my 3rd brake light above my spare. I will replace it, as soon as I find the one I want.
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:46 AM   #21
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If you are worried about it, and want to set a good example for your students , why not just make something to wire into the stock 3rd brakelight wiring?

That is what I did. When I went with an aftermarket tire carrier, I did not want to mess with the huge brakelight tower. I just popped a $5.00 led light into my spare tire center cap and was done. Or for those not even running a spare, you could mount a small led light on the tailgate and wire it in to the stock wiring. Lots of options.



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Old 06-07-2013, 08:48 AM   #22
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Thanks everyone for the input. I am going to have a swing out tire carrier, and just dont want to go to the hassle of wiring it. I may change my mind once I get into, but I feel ok as of now without it on.

TJ Dave, my students think I drive a Prius!
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:04 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by PrecisionPowder View Post
its less of a long shot than you might think. its something insurance agents are trained to look for. when i was t-boned by a tractor in one of my VWs my insurance pay out was double because of the fact he has no blinkers which is a requirement if being used on the road.

its more common than you might think. say for example you change you steering wheel (popular in cars) to something without an airbag and you get hit by someone and messed up because of it, they wont cover anything that happened to you because of having no airbag
Again as long as you have one working one they can try to sue but will not win because the laws plainly state that you have to have one working brake lamp on the rear of your vehicle. And as far as cops they can and will pull you over for what ever they want. Most cops love jeeps and won't mess with you although I've been pulled over just so they can get a better look at my bad a?? Ride. The other thing to watch out for in most states is your tires sticking out more than an inch past the fender flares. So basically always be aware if you mod it becomes an issue interpretation by cops and insurance companies.
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:15 AM   #24
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You can make the same argument for side mirrors since the newer jeeps they are attached to the doors so when the doors come off you have no mirrors but a rear view and the states there that you must have I've mirror with a clear rear view of the vehicle. So if insurance companies can make up their own rules then why would jeep build them that way. People will always try to find a way out of paying so just educate your self when you mod your jeep
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Old 06-07-2013, 12:23 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NC Bear
I am a State Trooper in NC and the above poster nailed it. In NC General Statute states one must have one working taillight. NC Court also ruled that a burned out brake light is not enough for a vehicle stop. However, a burned out tail light or license plate marker is grounds for a vehicle stop.

OP, I also removed my 3rd brake light above my spare. I will replace it, as soon as I find the one I want.
I removed mine due to my oversized spare. However, I have removed all the equipment in the rear because bottom hinge factory pressed bushing is toasty.
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Old 06-07-2013, 12:29 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NC Bear
I am a State Trooper in NC and the above poster nailed it. In NC General Statute states one must have one working taillight. NC Court also ruled that a burned out brake light is not enough for a vehicle stop. However, a burned out tail light or license plate marker is grounds for a vehicle stop.

OP, I also removed my 3rd brake light above my spare. I will replace it, as soon as I find the one I want.
I also have a legit question.
On TJs do we need the front side markers? Because my technical definition they are side markers and not turn signals. Curious because an inspector failed me a couple months ago because I had my front fenders off(no fender or fender flare laws for passenger vehicles) and said "these need to be secured in a fender." Even though, they were secured in the holes where the fender would attach.... First time having any problem with those geeks. Also my damn bank one sensor one O2 sensor keeps going bad, replaced four times and some how I still don't qualify for an emissions waiver. Literally everytime Id replace it, it'd go bad right before inspection. Thinking it might be the brand though, Bosch..
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:21 PM   #27
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you have to have the side markers, and on the TJ's they are blinkers so that is a double whammy.

as far as the fender thing, I dunno about that post pic's so I can see them. I'd go with what the inspector says though, they are gonna pass or fail you.
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:29 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by NC Bear
you have to have the side markers, and on the TJ's they are blinkers so that is a double whammy.

as far as the fender thing, I dunno about that post pic's so I can see them. I'd go with what the inspector says though, they are gonna pass or fail you.
Yeah I put my fenders back on. But Im thinking about mounting some LED ones in the side of my jeep so I can run some Metal Cloaks. Along with mounting some JK style front turn signals under the headlights.
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Old 06-07-2013, 02:54 PM   #29
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yea do the Metal Cloaks. W/O your fenders you are probably asking for grief from the inspectors
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Old 06-07-2013, 05:21 PM   #30
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I am putting on a rear bumper this weekend. I was planning on just leaving the 3rd break (tire break light) light off. Then I started to wonder if it is a legal thing. Anyone here have an idea? I know it might be a "state by state" issue (I am in NC) , but any feed back would help.
If you have a hitch you can do a hitch light take it off whenever you don't need it

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