As the son of a farmer and trucker from Aroostook County, I was around a variety of vehicles from a very young age, including old "boat" family sedans, pickup trucks, tractor-trailers, tractors, old farm trucks, and more.

And I have vivid memories of my dad having a "suicide knob" on his truck's steering wheel.  He used it so that he could talk on the CB radio at the same time he was driving.  These were the days before cell phones became affordable for everyone, so we used CB radios to communicate with home, the machine shed, other employees, etc.

Fast forward 30 years. A few days ago, during a visit to see my mom, I took a peek inside her new car.  I was surprised to see that she had a suicide knob on her steering wheel.  I brought it up, and she commented that none of the garages ever mentioned it when she was getting her vehicle inspected.


After doing some research, I now know why none of the garages ever commented about the fact that she had one of these nifty devices.

Are Suicide Knobs Illegal in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts?

According to the Maine Legislature website, there are no rules preventing someone from installing a so-called suicide knob in their vehicle.  The same goes for every other state.  This is according to the Suicide Knob website.

In fact, some states have rules saying that people with certain disabilities must use them in their vehicles.

Of course, some states do have restrictions on the types of vehicles that you can install a suicide knob on.  And even though every state allows them, some municipalities may not allow them.

Why Are They Called Suicide Knobs?

We believe the name comes from the fact that the device, which is actually called a Brodie Knob, makes it easy to over-steer a car or truck.  This over-steering could lead to potentially fatal crashes.

This video does a pretty good job of breaking down what they are and how they operate.


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Gallery Credit: Sarah Jones

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