Aftermarket Lighting Warning

Discussion in 'The Coffee Shop ~ Chit Chat' started by tbplus10, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Almost 2 years ago a friend of mine was involved in a tragic accident where a teenage driver texting and speeding hit his truck while he was stopped at a red light. 2 teenagers died, 1 is a quadraplegic, and 1 is mentally incapacitated.
    At the scene of the accident the police felt there was no doubt about fault. According to Texas law reguarding fatality accidents they impounded both vehicles.
    Months later when my friends insurance company questioned why they hadnt recieved the truck for processing yet both my friend and the ins. Co. Were notified there was pending litigation on the accident and that my friend was facing charges.
    While the DPS was going over the vehicles they discovered the headlights and taillights on the truck had been replaced with "non DOT" approved lights.
    The lights were advertised on ebay and their packaging as "Conforms to DOT Standards" but they didnt have the DOT approved markings or DOT certification.
    After a year of court my friend was found not guilty of 2 counts vehicular manslaughter and 2 counts vehicular injury.
    Today he was found liable for 30% as a codefendent (alongside the light manufacturer) for a $16 million dollar law suit.
    An appeal is being filed next week.
    Next time you decide to mod your truck pay close attention to the wording on the parts.
  2. summitwhite11

    summitwhite11 Active Member 2 Years 500 Posts

    wow, what an ordeal to have to go thru.
  3. McClintoc

    McClintoc ɹoʇɐɹǝpoɯ Staff Member 3 Years 1000 Posts

    That is indeed a rough ordeal to go through. Hopefully the appeal will come through. I just don't get how anyone can say the VICTIM'S lights caused that kid to speed and text while driving. Court judges need to grow some balls and stop taking frivolous law suites.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  4. jsmith4816

    jsmith4816 Rockstar 4 Years 100 Posts

    Wow, thats horrible to hear. Hope the appeal works out for him
  5. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    My friend will make it through this ok no matter how it ends, he's presently taking steps to protect his future finances.
    My intent here was to hopefully warn others that there are manufacturers selling products that are not legal for on road use, by using these products, even though you may not beware of their legal standing, you the user/consumer assume liability.
    The particular company involved may be excluded from the suit due to their product advertisement, that particular decission is still in court.
    Yea I agree on the fact non DOT lights dont make someone speed and text while driving, unfortunately we live in a place and time where our civil suit system has become out of contact with reality that anyone can be sued for any reason
    Issues like this make me think back to my time living in Europe, you do something stupid and get hurt and your the only one held responsable, no one looks for excuses or large bank accounts. Law suits ending huge financial settlements are almost unheard of in Europe.
    99'HEARTBEAT likes this.
  6. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Wow, that is messed up. Ok, so the guy had "illegal" headlights and tail lights in his truck. were the tail lights smoked dark and hard to see at night? was he rear ended? I mean I think that a judge should have thrown the case out, unless of course he had the tail lights that you can hardly see at night because they are tinted so dark. I find it ridiculous that he was even charged with anything. he was stopped.

    I have seen those non dot lights on ebay. I was looking at fog lights. the non dot were half the price of the dot lights. I did not know this then. I ordered a set and installed one of them, it scattered lighted terribly. I pulled it off and called the seller after I realized that there was no DOT stamp on them. After going round and round with them. I asked if they were DOT approved, they would reply that they were made in a facility that is DOT approved and that makes dot approved items.
    Me: "So, are these dot approved?",
    Them: "Well sir, they are made in a dot approved factory that makes dot approved parts",
    Me: "Are these fog lights one of the dot approved parts they make?",
    Them: "Well, yes, sir the bulbs are DOT approved",
    Me: "great, are the lenses and housings",
    Them: "sir they are made in a factory that makes dot approved parts",
    Me: " I understand that, but Are these Dot approved parts",
    Them: "the bulbs are yes",
    Me: "Not the damn bulbs, the housings and lenses, the bulbs say dot on them, I can read, what about the lenses, they do not say dot on them, they look like the original lenses but do not have the dot stamp, if I take these to an officer at MDOT are they going to say they pass?"
    Them: "Sir, these lenses are not DOT approved, but made in a factory that makes dot things"
    Me: " I will be returning them to you soon, look for my box"

    I think that the ebay stores just figure that they will never have any issues selling non dot things. When you ask they just give you answers like I got. if you don't read between the lines you could end up like your friend.
  7. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    No the lights werent tinted or any of the non approved HID version.
    They were just styled different than factory lights.
    One issue thats come up is the truck had recently completed a safety inspection with these lights on it, no problem noted.
    Charges werent filed until almost 13 months after the accident, and that was only after the parents made a huge scene over the lights on the vehicle which their insurance company used as an excuse to attempt to avoid paying for damages.
    For legal reasons I dont understand the judge chose to conduct a full trial and issue a "Not Guilty" verdict versus other options. The defending lawyer recommended this as the best choice, after early in the trial the D.A. attempted to plea bargain.
    Ive known for years non DOT approved parts were a risk, I just never knew they were this much of a risk.
  8. McClintoc

    McClintoc ɹoʇɐɹǝpoɯ Staff Member 3 Years 1000 Posts

    I don't know much about the law but:

    A) 13 months until charges were filed? What's the statute of limitations for auto accidents? I guess the SoL is still open if the accident is still "under investigation".

    B) Isn't the burden of proof on the suing party? It sounds like your friend has proof that the lights are OK. As in, a certified inspection facility gave them the OK. The burden of proof is on the ones who filed the suit. They have to prove his lights caused the accident.

    Again, dumb judge. The "justice" system in this country is a joke.
  9. USAF-Suburban

    USAF-Suburban Rockstar 100 Posts

    I agree, rough indeed. And you and I both know that what you said about the courts will never happen. There are some judges out there with the balls to throw these garbage claims out but they are few and far between...
  10. BurbanMan

    BurbanMan Rockstar 3 Years 500 Posts

    Dang! Thanks for the heads up! Glad your friend is ok. That is the most important thing. I will certainly take a very close look at the next set of lights I purchase!

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