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Old 03-14-2014, 10:40 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Lee's Summit, MO
Posts: 50
Missouri Jeep Laws

I've seen a ton of threads related to jeep laws, so decided to actually read the law for Missouri and report back with what I've found. I think every one of the state forums should have this, but hopefully this becomes a sticky in the MO section and other states get as much support.

Anyway, here's what I've gathered. I went through the state legislatures site for codified law, the secretary of state's site for how the executive branch sets policy of the law, and the DMV and highway patrol sites. I am specifically staying away from judicial/jury decisions since those are a lot harder to gather and analyze, and rarely result in decisions about regulation.

I am also trying to focus on jeep centered law. A few examples may illustrate it best:

  • I don't post u-turn laws in Missouri because that law would apply to all vehicles, and Jeeps aren't more likely to do u-turns than others.
  • I do post mirror laws, because of the removable doors having mirrors attached.
  • (less obvious) I post some child restraint details since that has implications for seat removal.
  • I didn't include much that would relate to tops and their removal. Jeeps with the top removed are pretty much a convertible, and there are plenty of other convertibles out there.

Some disclaimers: I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice. This is a reference for posted state law, but your locality may have conflicting or more restrictive law. I list brief descriptions of the laws I have read in order to help the reader, but my description should not be misunderstood as a legal opinion. YOU SHOULD READ THE LAW ITSELF if that is a section which is of concern to you, and if necessary contact a lawyer. The law could be changed, and not yet reflected on the referenced website. Ignorance is no excuse of the law. The reader may not hold myself or wranglerforums.com liable for any errors, conflicts, or omissions.

If you get stopped by a cop and get a ticket for something you shouldn't have, I recommend being polite and referencing the law, but if the cop still gives you a ticket just deal with it in court. Cops don't know all of the law and don't appreciate it if they think you are being a wise-ass.

In most cases in the US, anything which is not restricted is legal, but you can't prove a negative. The problem is; Just because I didn't find something which says "You can drive without doors" doesn't mean it's not out there in another form. There could be a law that says you have to drive with all safety equipment, and your state considers doors safety equipment (not all do).

Keep in mind that there are a number of ways that equipment or regulations create a requirement, but those might not be a law you could get a ticket for. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may require new cars to be built with airbags, but the NHTSA doesn't have any cops. Your state requires headlights, and your state does have cops. But your state does not require airbags, so you may not get a ticket for not having them. Now the big thing to watch out for here is the difficult to locate statutes like "Your vehicle is required to have all safety equipment which was original equipment." which means that your state DOES require and enforce the airbag requirement.

Some advice for other forums who may use this as a template: This took me about 10 hours to compile. If you add another significant section I'm missing, feel free to PM me to add it.

Some requests and advice for posters: Please concentrate on posting facts and not opinions or anecdotes. References are required in order for it to be a verifiable fact. I would appreciate this thread staying mostly as a reference. Some examples:
  • "I've never been pulled over for only having 1 rear view mirror." <-- That's great, but there could be a million people with different experiences.
  • "My buddy is a cop and said you will never get a ticket for lifting your Jeep bumper above the stated limit." <-- A cop friend of yours is stating his opinion about his department's enforcement, and that's not this thread.
  • "You are an idiot if you put your kid in the back of a Jeep and don't restrain them, even if it's legal." <-- I totally agree, and wouldn't do it myself. I'm just focusing on what the regulations are and the readers need to decide for themselves.
Be safe, and when I see you, I'll . Missouri laws coming in my 2nd post ...

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Old 03-14-2014, 11:14 AM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Lee's Summit, MO
Posts: 50
General reference

State Legislature (Missouri General Assembly)
State Code of Regulations (secretary of state)
This is what the state highway patrol executes by. https://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/csr/csr.asp
State Highway Patrol
MVI Frequently Asked Questions
General notes:
  • The term “highway” is generally used in these statutes as any publicly available roadway.
  • There is not much specific to on and offroad use, especially as it relates to equipment. I would appreciate any help finding more about on/offroad differences.

Required Equipment

Nothing found. Assume if you don't have doors, you have your mirrors taken care of.
If a vehicle produced after 1968 was equipped with interior and drivers side exterior mirrors, they will be inspected. No exterior passenger mirror will be inspected, even if equipped.
At least 2 forward headlights, mounted at the same height, with one on each side of the vehicle.
Section 307-045 Headlamp on motor vehicles--violations,

When on roads, lights must be used when street lights are illuminated, and comply with focus and candle strength ratings.
Section 307-040 When lights required--violation, penalt

Forward light intensity/aiming/focus requirements
Section 307-055 Single-beam headlamps--intensity, adjus

No more than 4 total forward lights simultaneously used on highway.
Section 307-105 Limitation on total of lamps lighted at
Brake Lights
2 required. All installed must work. Doesn't distinguish for offroad/onroad use.
Section 307-075 Taillamps, reflectors--violations, pena

Auxiliary lights
Forward auxiliary lights:No more than 3 additional lights, must be between 12 and 42 above level ground.
Section 307-080 Auxiliary lamps--number--location--viol

Rear auxiliary lights are allowed but cannot be lighted while the vehicle is moving forward
Section 307-085 Cowl, fender, running board and backup

Spotlights: Not more than one allowed, and cannot be aimed where it may be distracting.
Section 307-090 Spotlamps--restrictions, penalty.

There are tread wear and wheel matching requirements to pass inspection, excludes spare.

Tire studs prohibited from April 1 to November 1
Section 307-170 Other equipment of motor vehicles--viol
Trucks, including light pickups with fenders, are exempt from mudflap requirement

Mudflaps are required for trucks over 24,000 lbs, if there is no rear fender, and must cover full tread width. Not clear if there is no fender present, but the GVWR is below 24,000lbs.
Section 307-015 Certain motor vehicles, mud flaps requi

Rollbars and cages
Not much found. Assume anything related to custom vehicles would apply if you aren't OEM.

Required while operating on roads, if the vehicle was originally equipped with them
Section 307-172 Altering passenger motor vehicle by rai

Primarily off-road (or modified to be such) vehicles are exempt from bumper height requirement, only while in-tow (or presumably not on the road)
Section 307-172 Altering passenger motor vehicle by rai

Conflict Warning!!!: The two following bumper height examples aren't exactly a conflict, but the state statute does not clarify the Jeep=Commercial while the Secretary of State does.

For street use: Maximum front bumper height = 22 inches, Maximum rear bumper height = 22 inches when tires are inflated to OEM spec. Checked (supposedly) during vehicle inspection, and knowingly violating is a misdemeanor.
Section 307-172 Altering passenger motor vehicle by rai

Jeeps (and other off-roadable vehicles specifically called out) are considered commercial vehicles for bumper height inspection. Assuming your jeep is less than 4500lbs GVW, Front=24 inches, Rear=26 inches based on below measurement point
For stock bumpers, measure from the bottom of the bumper to the ground
For dropped-stock bumpers, cannot be dropped more than 3 inches below OEM location, measure from the bottom of the bumper
For non-stock bumpers, measure from the center of the front mounting points to the ground
For non-stock drop-bumpers, cannot be dropped more than 3 inches below OEM location, measure from the center of the alternate mounting point to the ground

Bumpers must be at least 4.5 inches tall, made of a durable material, and be able to absorb shock, and at least as strong as what was stock.

Bumpers must be at least as wide as the original OEM tread width of the vehicle

Suspension/Steering components
There are a number of specific components which are supposed to be safety inspected. If they are missing, you would fail inspection.

As it relates to lifts: While operating on roads, the lift cannot obstruct operator's view, but the bumper and headlight height laws above may limit your lift
Section 307-172 Altering passenger motor vehicle by rai
All vehicles made after 1936 which were originally equipped with glass must have approved safety glass.

If installed, wipers must be functional including blade wear. This appears to include rear wipers for hard tops.

There does not appear to be any provisions about operating with the windshield down, just that it is required to be equipped if it was OEM. Assume at least that you must properly secure the windshield to the hood, and be able to see (goggles/glasses at higher speeds).

After model year 1965, must have at least a pair of front seat safety belts.
Section 307-165 Seat safety belts standard equipment, w

For street use, on vehicles manufactured in 1968 or after, for anyone 18 or under operating or riding in the passenger area of a truck, must wear a seatbelt.
Section 307-178 Seat belts required for passenger cars-

If there are more passengers than there are seatbelts, then passengers can't sit in the front seat, unless the vehicle is only DESIGNED to have a front seating area (i.e. Doesn't count if you just took your rear seat out)
Section 307-178 Seat belts required for passenger cars-

No person below 18 may be in the bed of an un-enclosed truck bed. Does not clarify whether a Jeep with 2nd row seats removed qualifies as a truck bed.
Section 304-032 Utility vehicles, operation on highway

Most seat belt and restraint laws appear to be exempted for parades.
Section 304-665 Riding in open bed of truck prohibited,

Occupying a truck bed is exempted for parades.
Section 304-665 Riding in open bed of truck prohibited,

Child Restraint
Because most Jeeps were designed with a 2nd row of seats, most child restraint laws seem to apply the same as other passenger vehicles. (i.e. taking out your rear seat doesn't allow you to put a child in the front seat)
Section 307-179 Definitions--transporting children unde

2 sets, resulting in a total of 4 brakes, minimum in good working condition are inspected.
Section 307-170 Other equipment of motor vehicles--viol

Must be made to be as quiet as a modern passenger vehicle, no cutouts. Doesn't distinguish for offroad/onroad use. (Local ordinances may be more specific.)
Section 307-170 Other equipment of motor vehicles--viol

Must include functional and non-cracked manifolds, catalytic converter, muffler, and exhaust pipe, which are supposed to be inspected.

Audio (stereo)
Nothing found. (These tend to be local ordinance in MO)

Required which can be heard to notify pedestrians, no mention of on/offroad difference
Section 307-170 Other equipment of motor vehicles--viol

Vehicle Registration and Use

Non-licensed vehicle use
All vehicles are required to be registered.
Section 307-350 Motor vehicles, biennial inspection req
Licensing Vehicle
May be licensed as a passenger vehicle, or as a truck, depending on use.
Section 301-010 Definitions.

All vehicle use requires financial responsibility (insurance unless you're super rich).

Section 303-025 Duty to maintain financial responsibili
All accidents causing either injury or damage exceeding a total of $500 must be reported within 30 days. There does not appear to be an exemption based on location (off road) and includes damage to one's own property by the owner.
Section 303-040 All motor vehicle accidents to be repor
Section 303-040 All motor vehicle accidents to be repor
Personal property is taxed, and there does not seem to be an exemption for vehicles of non-highway use.
Section 137-075 What property liable for taxes.

Definition of “tangible personal property” appears to include (due to lack of exemption) Jeeps for non-highway use
Section 137-010 Definitions.
Section 137-100 Certain property exempt from taxes.
Section 137-015 Classification of property.
Odometer Reading
VIN is recorded with odometer reading on inspection https://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/csr/c...sr/11c50-2.pdf

Odometer reading is attested as accurate on title transfer. Hello to those who change tire sizes, but not speedometer gear!

Section 407-536 Odometer mileage to be shown on title,
Vehicle Inspection
Emissions tests required around St. Louis.

Missouri car inspection | DMV.org

Vehicle inspection details from the licensing authority (Dept. of Revenue)
Missouri car inspection | DMV.org

Vehicle inspection details from the State Highway Patrol
MVI Frequently Asked Questions
Off-road Regulations
Jeeps are specifically called out as capable of being Off-road vehicles
Section 304-001 Definitions for chapter 304 and chapter

Jeeps are not considered “utility vehicle” nor "Recreational off-highway vehicle" based on weight, so are not granted their more generous rules.
Section 301-010 Definitions.

Within parks, vehicles must operate on roads or in designated areas
Section 253-155 Motor vehicles may operate, where, exce

Park speed limit is 20 mph, except where designated. Does not differentiate between on/off road
Section 253-160 Speed limits in park.

Park motor vehicle operating statutes are otherwise governed by existing statute
Section 253-165 Vehicles in parks subject to general la

Use in waterways not allowed, except through waterways on land owned by one of the operators, unless it's for agricultural purposes and is given permission by the land owner
Section 304-032 Utility vehicles, operation on highway
Custom Vehicles
There are some exceptions to equipment requirements for vehicles which qualify as “custom vehicle” which also affect licensing and use.
Section 301-132 Street rod and custom vehicle certifica

There is a process for titling and registering a custom vehicle.
Missouri DOR Registration for Custom Built, Kit Cars, & More at DMV.org: The DMV Made Simple

Whew, that's it.

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Old 03-16-2014, 04:23 PM   #3
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Springfield Missouri
Posts: 3,163
Thanks! Everything a Jeeper wants to know!
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:45 PM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Lee's Summit, MO
Posts: 50
I live in Lee's Summit but work in Kansas in Overland Park. I need to get KS done just to be sure I don't have any problems there.
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:49 PM   #5
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: KCK
Posts: 11,035
Originally Posted by Kssun View Post
I live in Lee's Summit but work in Kansas in Overland Park. I need to get KS done just to be sure I don't have any problems there.
I find myself in both states as well, this is a helpful list and would have been even more helpful if I hadn't already gone and looked all these up over time...and after being pulled over lol

thanks for gathering it all in one place, and I agree, it should be a sticky for multiple states, appreciate you taking the time to post it all
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:11 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,500
Wow, what a informative thread! Thanks for taking the time to post this!
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Old 04-29-2015, 11:11 AM   #7
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 57
Old thread but thanks for doing all the research
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Old 09-06-2015, 10:54 AM   #8
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Joplin, Mo
Posts: 174
this is a great source of info! thanks for taking the time to compile everything!

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