Tony O'Kane | Jul 16, 2009

NSW MOTORISTS will need to seek engineering approval for any height-altering suspension modifications from August 1 onwards, under tough new rules designed to stamp out dangerous car modifications.

New South Wales Minister for Roads Michael Daley announced today that under the new legislation vehicle ride height can only be changed by up to five centimetres, on the proviso that the modifications be approved by a licensed automotive engineer.

Under current NSW law a vehicle's suspension can be raised or lowered by up to five centimetres without an engineer's approval, and by up to 15cm with an engineering certificate.

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"I don’t want to see young hoons putting their lives or the lives of others at risk, just because they think their car looks better 15 centimetres closer to the ground," said Mr Daley.

"These hoons may think their car looks cool, but as far as I’m concerned anything more than a five centimetre change in a car’s suspension is dangerous and doesn’t belong on our roads."

Under the new laws, vehicles will still need to have no part of their body less than 10cm above the ground, meaning cars that come from the factory with a low ride height may not be able to be lowered as much as other cars.

"It can affect handling, braking and safety features such as electronic stability control," said Mr Daley.

"It can also change the position of vital impact-absorbing sections of a car, designed to reduce the severity of a crash.

"Raising a vehicle’s suspension can also reduce the driver’s ability to see pedestrians and cyclists, and higher headlights can startle other road users."

Off-road enthusiasts who require a lift of greater than five centimetres for competition reasons may be able to get special dispensation, however the days of the catseye-scraping modified car are well-and-truly numbered in NSW.

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