I am looking to drive my American SUV in Europe (mainly in the UK, but also probably France, Italy and Germany). I have a hefty bullbar on both the front and back of my 2002 Chevrolet Suburban, similar to this.

Since these bullbars are so dangerous if you’re ever in a collision with a pedestrian, I am wondering if there are any laws in those countries which prohibit them on public roads. I am intending to go only for a short holiday, so I am not trying to register the SUV in Europe.


The answer to your question does not depend on what the laws of the UK, other countries or even the EU say about bull bars. The reason is simple: All of those countries signed the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic. According to Wikipedia, by signing the Convention, those countries agreed to respect each others technical requirements. As a result, any car registered in the US that meets US technical requirements can be legally driven on the roads of any country that signed the Convention. Thus, those countries are required by the Convention to allow you to drive with bull bars on their roads.

The power of the Convention was illustrated a few years ago when Florida passed a law requiring all foreign drivers to have an International Driving Permit. Since the Convention requires signatory countries to respect the licenses of other countries, Florida had to back down from enforcing its law.

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    The question then becomes whether after-market accessories meet US Technical Requirements (they may not), and whether your insurer will cover a car with after-market modifications (UK insurance frequently does not) – Owain Jul 22 '20 at 16:42
  • Good points. It might be useful to search to see if anyone has posted about experience with this situation. – Just a guy Jul 22 '20 at 22:35
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    @Owain a lot of technical requirements for domestic vehicles are determined at state-level, rather than federal level. The US equivalent of an MOT is different for each state, and different in some states per county. I own several vehicles in the US and no insurance company has ever asked me whether I have any aftermarket modifications, bullbars are very common where I live though. I reckon you can buy trucks from directly from dealerships fitted with bullbars. I know you can buy retired police cars directly from police departments which are still fitted with the standard-issue police bullbars – Goulash Jul 23 '20 at 15:59

The restriction pertains to their sale in the EU. The rule in art. 4 is basically

In accordance with Article 10, manufacturers shall ensure that frontal protection systems either fitted as original equipment to vehicles placed on the market or supplied as separate technical units comply with the requirements of Sections 5 and 6 of Annex I.

Possession and use are not prohibited.

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