Hitch-hangers causing a hang-up

By Layron Livingston - bio | email

SMITH COUNTY (KLTV) - Some have called them vulgar, tasteless, and crude. But, should they be illegal?

Ask any mother, like Robyn Wallace. It is enough to make anyone crank up the car stereo to avoid the inevitable question from the backseat: "Mommy, what are those?"

Tacky is how Wallace described the outsized, plastic testicles she has seen dangling from the back of pickups and trailer hitches.

"I appreciate the humor," she said. "But, I hope I come up with some other answer besides the real answer."

We found them in full flesh on the back of Chase Mason, a 16-year-old from Troup.  "I'll be the only one at school with them," he said. Mason said they're a kick with his friends, literally.  "Every time they see them they come up and kick them."

But the hanging hitch-ornaments are not just for trucks.

Wentrice Easley said her husband came home one day and put a chrome pair on his car, along with a set of horns to match; the "Boss Bull" of the street.

"It's just fun," said Easley. She said it is not intended to offend anyone.

Others disagree. Last year, lawmakers in Maryland and Virginia introduced bills that would put a halt to the attachable accouterment, considered an offensive distraction for drivers.

They are now banned in the state of Florida. Driver there can be fined up to $60 if they have them on their cars.

Officer Don Martin, public information officer with the Tyler Police Department, said these particular bumper ornaments do not fall under any statutes. He said obscenity laws do cover vulgar language and gestures.

Section 43.22 of the Texas Penal Code reads:

A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly displays or distributes an obscene photograph, drawing, or similar visual representation or other obscene material and is reckless about whether a person is present who will be offended or alarmed by the display.

Martin said it would be different if the oversized ornaments were real, or if it they included, ahem, the whole package.

So what's the draw? Granger Lambert, owner of Lambert's Window Tinting & Truck Accessories, said tool boxes, grill guards, and step bars aren't the only things he is ordering for his customers.

"Ladies come in here blushing, saying, 'What I need is...,' or, 'What my son is looking for...,' and they never finish," Granger said. But he knows exactly what they're looking for.

We contacted the Texas Department of Public Safety, which said the accessories are not illegal. We also contacted the Texas House of Representatives Transportation Committee, as well as the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee to see if any legislation had been filed to ban them.

No legislation has been filed.

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