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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Is It Illegal to Drive without a Bumper in Indiana? What Drivers Must Know

When focused on safety, each component of a vehicle is important. Typically, a car should be equipped with bumpers, which are often called crumple zones. These will absorb the energy from an impact and disperse it safely. Typically, the front and rear bumpers are on the front lines, and they're the first parts to get hit. Many people wonder: Is it illegal to drive without a bumper in Indiana? Let's learn more.

Why People Might Drive without Front and Rear Bumpers

Why People Might Drive without Front and Rear Bumpers

People often see vehicles without front and rear bumpers. The best injury attorneys in Indianapolis say it's likely they had been in a collision and haven't made repairs yet. Sometimes, the insurance claim takes a while, or it might take time for the parts to come in. However, car owners continue driving the motor vehicle registered with the state.

You might also see a car driving without front and rear bumpers if they've been modified. Car enthusiasts often use aftermarket products for more aerodynamics or might put in a large intercooler and turbocharger for better cooling efficiency. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also consult on an average settlement for concussion Indiana.

Can One Drive a Vehicle That Is Not Equipped with Bumpers?

Each state has different rules about front and rear bumpers. Though they are a crucial safety feature, driving without them might lead to serious injury or damage in a car crash. Additionally, one could be cited if they operate motor vehicles without the original manufactured bumper on their cars.

Ultimately, Indiana code 9-19-4 indicates that front and rear bumpers are required when operated upon the highway, especially if they had one originally. This cannot vary more than three inches compared to the original version for passenger vehicles.

Since every state has different rules about bumpers, it's wise to learn about them if one plans to travel to another state. For example, if one doesn't have a rear or front bumper on a vehicle operated upon a highway in Indiana, they could get a ticket.

What Indiana Law Says About Front and Rear Bumpers

There are four main parts of the Indiana Code relating to front and rear bumpers. These include:

  • Indiana Code 9-19-4-1 - If operated on the highway, a motor vehicle registered as a car that was originally equipped with bumpers must stay that way. According to, "the bumper height may not vary over three (3) inches from the original bumper height of the vehicle."

  • Indiana Code 9-19-4-2 - If operated on the highway, a motor vehicle registered as a truck with a gross weight of 11,000 pounds or less must be equipped with bumpers that are strong enough for the front and rear. The height of these front and rear bumpers cannot exceed 30 inches once measured from the pavement to the bottom of that bumper height for the vehicle.

  • Indiana Code 9-19-4-3 - A vehicle that has a frame/body extending 60 inches or more beyond the rear axle and sits 42 inches above the roadway can't be operated upon the highway unless it has a bumper on the rear. This must extend downward to within 30 inches of that roadway.

  • Indiana Code 9-19-4-4 - This section won't apply to people who own/operate vehicles that contain accessories and parts.

Penalties to Pay If One Is Caught without Front and Rear Bumpers

If one is pulled over because they don't have a bumper on their motor vehicles, it's possible to get in trouble. A police officer can pull the person over and issue them a citation. Then, the person must pay the fine or risk imprisonment.

Typically, each state has different penalties in place for motor vehicles operating without front and rear bumpers. Usually, Indiana isn't incredibly strict about its bumper law, but police officers can uphold the law, according to Indiana Code 9-19-4.

How Can Driving without Front and Rear Bumpers Cause an Accident?

How Can Driving without Front and Rear Bumpers Cause an Accident?

Motor vehicles have shields called bumpers. They can be made of steel, aluminum, rubber, or plastic, but they're designed to be used on the rear and front of the car. In low-speed collisions, they will absorb the impact and reduce damage, ultimately protecting occupants from injury.

However, bumpers aren't designed to protect the driver in an accident. Instead, their goal is to cover the essential components of the car, such as the hood, trunk, grill, fuel, and exhaust systems.

Usually, the rear bumper is designed to protect one from bumps that come from behind, while the front bumper softens the impact from bumps coming from the front.

In most cases, driving without bumpers will not lead to an accident. However, if a crash occurs, the driver without bumpers might face more severe penalties.

It's important to note that having loose bumpers could pose a significant risk on the road. Though people often attach them with cables or strong glue, they could fly off or drop down. Here are the ways this could cause a crash:

  • Bumpers Fly Off - If the bumpers fly off the vehicle, they could hit oncoming traffic or go behind the car and hit others behind them. In this situation, the at-fault party could be held liable for damages and injuries.

  • Bumpers Drop Down - If a vehicle has loose bumpers, they could partially drop to the ground. The vehicle might spin out of control, or the driver might run over their own bumper, causing a crash, either alone or with another car. Similarly, the bumper might fully drop to the ground. Other drivers in the rear might run over it, losing control or getting damaged cars in the bargain.

Why Contact a Law Firm After Being Injured By a Vehicle with No Front and Rear Bumpers

If one gets injured or experiences vehicle damage because another driver was negligent, they have the right to seek compensation. It doesn't matter what causes the accident. Therefore, if the at-fault party had no bumpers in place or the bumpers dropped away from the vehicle, they are in violation of Indiana Code 9-19-4. Victims should be compensated for their losses. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also assist with questions like what is the brightest headlight bulb that is legal in Indiana?

Ultimately, Indiana Code 9-19-4 is in place to ensure that vehicles with bumpers keep them in place and in good condition. If that didn't happen, and someone is injured, they should call Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys for a free consultation. Bumpers are important!


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