Bumper Requirements for Vehicles in Texas

by Wilhelm Schnotz
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Although Texas' vehicle inspection requirements don't directly address bumpers and bumper specifications, several requirements are indirectly tied into it. Additionally, some vehicles in Texas are also required to meet bumper standards issued by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration for passenger cars, which dictate durability and placement of bumpers on passenger cars.

NHTSA Standards

All passenger cars sold in the United States must meet NHTSA requirements for front and rear bumpers. These standards require bumpers to be able to withstand a collision of 2.5 mph on the front and rear sections, and 1.5 mph on the corners; this impact rating is equivalent to hitting a parked car of the same mass at 5 mph. Bumpers must guard a section of the front and rear of the car between 16 and 20 inches off the ground. These standards apply only to passenger cars, and light trucks and SUVs' bumpers are not regulated by the NHTSA.

Lights and Bumpers

To pass vehicle inspection as regulated by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the lights mounted inside or above bumpers must be visible. Texas requires all cars to have at least two red or amber stop lamps, which may be mounted inside the rear bumper, and must not be obscured by it. These lights must be visible for at least 300 feet. Additionally, rear bumpers should feature red tail lamps visible for 1,000 feet behind the vehicle. Head lamps need not be mounted on or inside front bumpers, but if they are, they must be between 54 and 24 inches from the ground in front of the vehicle.

Reflectors on Bumpers

Texas motor vehicle inspectors require that all vehicles must carry at least two red reflectors, visible for 350 feet when illuminated by head lamps. These may be mounted on or in the rear bumper or independently affixed to the vehicle.

License Plate Lamp

The Texas Department of Public Safety declares that if a license plate is mounted on the rear bumper, it must be equipped with a license plate lamp that illuminates the plate when the vehicle's operating lights are on. This light must be firmly and permanently affixed to the bumper, and must not shine a glaring light at cars behind the vehicle.

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