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So far this year, the OPP has given 119 tickets for the offence, up from 117 for all of 2017.

FCA US LLC/Chrysler Jeep

Did you know that that Jeep Wranglers (and I really can’t guess how many other trucks) are subject to fines due to body styles? I got a $78 fine because my Wrangler’s rear fender and bumper is higher than the centre of the wheel. Every time I go out now, all I do is count vehicles that don’t comply. What a money maker. – James, St. Albert, Alta.

If your Jeep or truck doesn’t have mud flaps, you could be slapped with a fine – even if it came from the dealership that way.

“Trucks have to have mud flaps – or a wheel well that extends over the wheels, and most [trucks] don’t,” said Corp. Laurel Scott with Central Alberta RCMP media relations. “If you have a Jeep with exposed tires, it’s problematic on the road in terms of rocks and debris hitting other vehicles.”

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Section 64 of Alberta’s Vehicle Equipment Regulation states “a motor vehicle or trailer must have a part of its body, a fender or a mudguard that covers the width of each tire.”

The wheel well or mudguard must extend to “at least the centre line of the rear of each axle… or be a distance away from the ground, equivalent to at least 1/3 of the horizontal distance from the bottom edge of the wheel.”

In other words, your tires can’t be exposed to the cars behind you.

“Passenger cars are typically exempted from the mudguard requirements because they are designed with fenders that cover the area behind the wheels,” said John Archer, an Alberta government spokesman, in an e-mail. “But SUVs including Jeep Wranglers, MPVs like minivans, and trucks including pick-up trucks, which typically don’t have a low-lying fender, must have them.”

The province doesn’t track the number of tickets issued for the offence.

The RCMP didn’t immediately have numbers for the whole year, but it gave out 31 tickets and issued 26 warnings in August and 29 tickets and 34 warnings in September.

That’s “a small percentage” (about 0.6 per cent) of the more than 18,500 total tickets and warnings, for all offences, given out over those two months, Scott said.

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We also asked Edmonton and Calgary police, but numbers weren’t immediately available.

Although Alberta’s law is more specific than some, every province requires mud flaps on vehicles where the fenders don’t cover wheels.

In Ontario, for instance, Section 66.3 of the Highway Traffic Act states every vehicle and trailer must have mudguards, fenders or another device “to reduce effectively the wheel spray or splash of water from the roadway.”

It’s an $85 fine plus surcharges. So far this year, the OPP has given 119 tickets for the offence, up from 117 for all of 2017.

Provinces require them, feds don’t

So, even though the provinces require mud flaps, Transport Canada doesn’t require manufacturers to include them on new vehicles.

“It's a situation where the vehicle appears to be compliant for sale under the federal vehicle safety standards but is not compliant to operate on the roads in a province without additional equipment,” said George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA).

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And, new car dealers aren’t required by law to tell you that you need mud flaps.

But since dealers want to sell you stuff, many do tell you, said the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA)

“The dealers associations proactively remind dealers about consumer education on this. It’s in our interest – we want to sell mud flaps,” said Huw Williams, CADA spokesman. “Obviously, some people might not remember being told it or it might get missed in a particular instance despite best efforts.”

Getting a pair of removable mud flaps made for the rear wheels costs about $100, said Rae Telford, president of the Northern Alberta Four Wheel Drive Association (NA4WD).

“[They] can be removed when you go off-roading,” Telford said. “I opt to pay for the mud flaps rather than take a chance at getting a $78 ticket every time.”

Have a driving question? Send it to globedrive@globeandmail.com. Canada’s a big place, so let us know where you are so we can find the answer for your city and province.

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