Automotive enthusiasts like to outfit their motor vehicles with aftermarket accessories that increase the performance and capabilities for specific purposes. This could include high performance cars, work trucks, 4x4 vehicles, ect. Many of these aftermarket parts and accessories do not meet motor vehicle safety standards and are not approved by any authority for use on highways.
These parts can either be manufactured and bought from various retailers. They could be custom ordered to fit. They could be designed, built, and installed by a local specialty auto shop or the owner of the vehicle.
These aftermarket parts could include:
Roll cage - A protective structure, usually built from chromoly or mild steel tubing, meant to protect all occupants of the vehicle during a roll-over accident. This could directly affect crumple zones required by motor vehicle safety standards that are meant to absorb energy during a collision.
Custom bumpers - A common upgrade to vehicles that allows mounting of a winch for recovery purposes. Commonly constructed using cold rolled mild steel plate. This also could directly affect crumple zones required by motor vehicle safety standards that are meant to absorb energy during a collision.
Steering and suspension - Common upgrade that increases stability, durability, and safety. Usually changed or modified to accommodate other upgrades, and can significantly change the characteristics of the vehicle and increase payload.
Roof-top tent - A tent usually mounted to the roof of the vehicle, or on a rack mounted above the bed of a pickup truck, made of either hard plastic or vinyl. This could directly affect the stability of the vehicle and raise the center of gravity, therefore possibly exceeding motor vehicle safety standards.
Some states have passed laws that make it a crime to operate a motor vehicle that is "in violation of state or federal motor vehicle safety standards."
For the purpose of federal safety standards
If an individual purchased a new vehicle, and outfitted it with aftermarket parts that are not certified under any motor vehicle safety standard, would their vehicle be in violation of U.S. Motor Vehicle Safety Standards?
Would the driver be subject to criminal charges under state statute?