Actor and Comedian Kevin Hart is recovering from injuries after a car accident in Malibu earlier this month. He was a passenger in his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda when it went off the highway and rolled down an embankment.
Hart is said to be dealing with major back injuries. And now this accident is raising the question: Should classic or muscle cars be modified to meet today's safety standards?
Gearhead Garage owner Jason Walrith said most of the time safety is part of the modification.
“We use great brakes on the cars, they stop better than they ever would have, they steer and handle better than they ever would have. I like to see guys get nice seat beats in their cars. It’s a part of it,” said Walrith.
Walrith told ABC10, most muscle car owners add the three-point seat belts when making modifications. He added, outside of a racetrack, a harness or a roll bar in these types of cars could prove to be dangerous.
“It’s a complicated discussion. I hear people talking about putting a roll bar in cars on the street, but what they don’t realize is those aren’t safe on the street. If you have a roll bar and it’s coming around you, that is great if you roll the car over. But if they get in a side impact you will hit your head against the roll bar and split your head open," Walrith said. "The racing harnesses might hold you too tight in the seat, you really can’t react and do what you need to do. I think a three-point belt that is retractable people will use. If you make it too hard, people won’t use it.”
Sgt. Brodie Mitchell heads a special investigation unit with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), he says the Southern California unit is currently investigating Hart’s crash.
“The investigation into Kevin Hart’s case is beginning and what the recommendations at the end will be, I can only speculate,” Mitchell said.
He said right now there is no recommendation by CHP to retrofitting classic vehicles.
Walrith said when driving classic vehicles with a lot of power people need to use common sense.
“There is a risk you take when you get on a motorcycle or a hot ride. Don’t act like a moron. Have respect for these cars. They have a lot of power,” said Walrith.
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