Why Japanese mini trucks are considered unsafe for travel in RI

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Q: Are Japanese light trucks considered too dangerous for road travel, even if motorcycles can now be ridden without helmets? They’re too slow for that, anyway. It would be nice to have something for small errands. They have good MPG, can park anywhere and have a pickup body for lumber/dump runs etc.

– John

A: Light trucks are vehicles of a class that are manufactured for the Japanese market and comply with standards that limit body size and engine displacement. This standard is significantly different from the North American vehicle safety standards that apply to comparable vehicles sold in the United States.

Mini trucks are not designed to be driven on North American roads. Allowing to drive introduces vehicles of questionable stability and crash protection into the traditional traffic mix, increasing known crash risk and potentially posing a hazard to the vehicle’s driver and other vehicles on the same road. there is.

Rhode Island law does not specifically allow registration of light trucks, nor does current law governing the use of all types of slow-moving vehicles on roads, except in a limited area of ​​Prudence Island. is not. As such, registration of these types of light trucks is currently prohibited as they are unsafe for use on public roads and highways.

Chuck Hollis is an Assistant Manager for the Rhode Island Automotive Division. Send your question to with the subject line “Contact the DMV”.

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