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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

Kevin Hart’s Crash Could Change Laws for Classic Cars in California

A near-fatal crash in California in early September in the hills above the city of Malibu may be changing laws pertaining to classic cars in that state.   Kevin Hart, famous actor and comedian, and two others were involved in a crash in Hart’s Hellcat-swapped 1970 Plymouth Barracuda.

Hart was a passenger in his 800+ horsepower Barracuda when the driver lost control of the vehicle, police said. The car rolled down an embankment, shattering the windshield and causing the roof to cave in.  The driver suffered serious back injuries and Hart and the third passenger were sent to the hospital with injuries as well.

It’s reported that California Highway Patrol (CHP) does not suspect any foul play nor was the driver under any influence of alcohol or drugs.  California officials will continue to investigate the incident and the findings could change future vehicle legislation in California.  If they find that the result of the injuries was caused by safety or mechanical issues, new laws concerning classic cars could likely be put into effect.

CHP routinely will disassemble a vehicle after an accident that caused a major injury and certainly after a high-profile case such as this.  The examination of the vehicle will probably take close to three to four weeks.  Every nut and bolt will be disassembled to help determine the cause of the crash and injuries.

Depending on what they find during the examination, CHP may recommend that classic car restoration shops install safety harnesses even if it was not required when the vehicle was originally produced.  The 1970 Plymouth Barracuda that belonged to Hart did hot have any safety harnesses for the occupants of the vehicle and are currently not required.  Even though safety harnesses would not have prevented the crash, they most likely would have helped to minimize the injuries.

CHP is very interested in finding out if the car was indeed restored properly and, in the past, they have pushed for legislation over salvaged cars that are unsafely restored.  There very well may be no changes to legislation regarding restored cars in California, but that still remains to be seen.  The near-fatal crash in the Malibu hills, however, just might be the final incident that makes a new law requiring modified classics to require safety harnesses.  If it passes, it will certainly change things for both classic car owners and restoration businesses.

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