Sunday, March 18, 2012

Windshield mounts illegal in 28 states?

In a surprising (and questionable) bit of gumshoe work, a POI Factory contributor has concluded that windshield mounts are illegal in 28 states and six Canadian provinces.

According to the article, windshield mounting is against the law in the states shown in red, and limited placement is allowed in specific windshield zones in the states in yellow. Green should mean you’re good to go, but I’d take it all with a grain of salt. The commenters on one site linking to the post found quite a few errors and/or misinterpretations. If you have questions, I’d advise you to follow the links below and read the law for yourself.

As for me, I prefer friction/dashboard mounts. While they can still be placed in such a way as to block your view, technically they aren’t attached!

Yes - GPS receivers can be mounted on the windshield. This is either through being specifically mentioned as being exempt from a regulation, or through the law not specifically mentioning GPS receivers at all while mentioning other items as being prohibited. See the appropriate law for details.

Yes (Limited) - As “Yes” above, but the law limits the location where the receiver may be mounted, usually at the bottom of the windshield in a 5″ square on the driver’s side or a 7″ square on the passenger’s side. See the appropriate law for details.

No - GPS receivers may not be mounted on the windshield. This is generally because of a mention of “non-transparent material” not being allowed on the windshield. A GPS mount would fall under this definition. See the appropriate law for details.

United States
Alabama: No, 32-5-215
Alaska: Yes, 28.35.161
Arizona: Yes (Limited), 28-959.01
Arkansas: No, 27-37-302
California: Yes (Limited), 26708
Colorado: Yes, 42-4-201
Connecticut: No[1], 14-99f
Delaware: No, 21-4309
District of Columbia: No[2], 50-1731.04
Florida: Yes, 316.2952
Georgia: No, 40-8-73
Hawaii: Yes (Limited), 291-21.5
Idaho: No, 49-943
Illinois: Yes, 625 ILCS 5
Indiana: Yes (Limited)[3], 9-19-19-3
Iowa: No, 321.438
Kansas: No, 8-1741
Kentucky: No, 189.110
Louisiana: No, 361.1
Maine: Yes[4], 1916
Maryland: Yes (Limited)[5], 21-1104
Massachusetts: Yes, I-XIV-90-9D
Michigan: Yes, 257.708b
Minnesota: Yes (Limited)[6], 169.71
Mississippi: Yes, 63-7-59
Missouri: Yes, 307.173
Montana: No, 61-9-405

Nebraska: No, 60-6,256
Nevada: Yes (Limited)[7], 484D.435
New Hampshire: Yes, 266:58a

New Jersey: No, 39:3-74
New Mexico: No, 66-3.846
New York: Yes, 375
North Carolina: Yes, 20-127
North Dakota: No, 39-21-39
Ohio: Yes[8], 4513.24
Oklahoma: No, 47-12-404
Oregon: No, 815.240
Pennsylvania: No, 4524
Rhode Island: No, 31-23-16
South Carolina: No, 56-5-5000
South Dakota: No, 32-15-5
Tennessee: Yes, 55-4-249
Texas: No, 547.613
Utah: Yes (Limited)[9], 41-6a-1635
Vermont: Yes, 1242
Virginia: No, 46.2-1054
Washington: No, 46.37.410
West Virginia: No, 17C-15-36
Wisconsin: No, 346.88(3)
Wyoming: No, 31-5-955

Alberta: Yes, 115.3(1)
British Columbia: No, 7.05(4)
Manitoba: Yes, 57(3)
New Brunswick: No, 238(1)
Newfoundland and Labrador: Yes, 32
Northwest Territories: Yes, 58
Nova Scotia: No, 184(4)
Nunavut: Yes, 58
Ontario: No, 73(1)
Prince Edward Island: No, 138(1)
Québec: No, III-5-59
Saskatchewan: Yes, 64
Yukon: Yes, 24

[1] Connecticut has a litmus test, stating that there must be a more than hypothetical possibility of the item blocking the field of vision.
[2] DC prohibits all electronic devices unless a hands-free accessory is equipped.
[3] 4″ square, lower passenger side corner.
[4] An example of “everything which is not forbidden is allowed.” No mention in the statutes regarding anything on the window, other than reflective tinting. Thus allowed.
[5] 7″ square, lower corner, driver or passenger side not specified.
[6] Must be on the bottom of the windshield, but not limited to the corners.

[7] 6″ square, lower passenger side corner.
[8] Enacted 6/29/2011.
[9] Top edge of windshield or lower left corner, 3″ x 4″ rectangle.

Image via cars.com.

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


  1. Alabama: “No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any sign, poster, or other nontransparent material upon the front windshield, sidewings, or side or rear windows of such vehicle which obstructs the driver’s clear view of the highway or any intersecting highway.”

    Hello, a little 2″x2″ windshield mount doesn’t obstruct the “clear view” of anything. Do I need to take down my rear view mirror too? Please. I’ve been pulled over (more times than I’d like to admit) with a Garmin in the window without a second look from the officer.

    Nothing to see here, move along.

    • Same here… My state i shown in red, but the link to the state law reads “…which obstructs the driver’s clear view of the highway or any intersecting highway.”

      I interpret that to mean my GPS (or whatever) is legal so long as It does not obstruct MY view of the highway or intersecting highways.

      So many cars here have GPS in them, and I can’t remember the last time anyone was ticketed for it.

      I don’t think this is on any PD high priority list….

  2. I just noticed that the British Columbia link is labelled wrong. I believe it should be 7.05(2).

    (2) No person shall drive or operate a vehicle on a highway while his view of the highway or of any intersecting highway is unduly obstructed by any windshield sticker, sign, poster or other thing or material placed over or affixed to the windshield or any window of the vehicle.

    It only says that things can’t obstruct the view of the road, so it should be Yes (Limited) shouldn’t it?

  3. yogazoo says:

    I think that perhaps the “Non-transparent” clause has been narrowly defined as opposed to a broader definition to include GPS units. At least in Montana. We always have GPS units mounted on our windshield and we’re passing cops in town. When the cell phone ban went into effect I called the highway patrol and local police station to find out if window mounted GPS units were included in the statitory language of the cell phone ban bill and both authorities said it was ok.

  4. They are wrong on Oregon. They say “no” and state 815.240, but that statute has a specific exemption for navigation devices:

    (3) Subsection (2) of this section does not apply to:
    (a) Emergency vehicles; or
    (b) Use of image display devices that are displaying images for navigational purposes.

  5. Pythagoras says:

    I travel frequently and I firmly believe that GPS receivers may not be mounted on the windshield.

    I have carried out more than a few citizens arrests on people “actively and intentionally utilizing a GPS device” – I do not condone violence – I drop them off at the local Police Department after advising them of their rights.

  6. So, this is absolute BS. If you have gotten a ticket for a GPS, post, but so far the researcher is an idiot.

    • He’s wrong about Iowa, too. The listed laws (Iowa Code 321.438) only address:

      1) If you have windshields or windows, you need to be able to see through them;
      2) If you have windshields or windows, they can’t be heavily tinted;
      3) You need to have windshields and windows.

      This guy is an awful ‘researcher’ at best, and a moron at worst.

  7. Angela Eads says:

    Check this out.

  8. South Carolina Ordinance 56-5-4440 Subsection E does permit windshild mounted GPS

  9. New York Yes?
    30. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle
    with any object placed or hung in or upon the vehicle, except required
    or permitted equipment of the vehicle, in such a manner as to obstruct
    or interfere with the view of the operator through the windshield, or to
    prevent him from having a clear and full view of the road

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