Sunday, March 18, 2012

Left-handed use of GPS may become California law


Okay, maybe that’s overstating it a little, but those nanny-state legislators are at it again. If they would just remove the prohibition on GPS windshield mounts, that would be great, but no, they want to limit where you can mount a GPS to "a 5-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest to the driver" or "a 7-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver."

I’m not even sure where to begin dismantling the problems in this legislation. Let’s start with my somewhat flippant title. Your choice, as a driver with a left-mounted GPS, is to use your left hand or reach across the steering wheel with your right hand. Southpaws rejoice.

Then there is the power cable, strung across the dash, over the steering wheel, where it can drop down and cause havoc.

Theory is one thing, but wait till you try to fit the mount in that 5-inch square. Unfortunately, sloping windshields and dashboards make this impossible on many vehicles, including my Camry. The mount in the image at the top of this post is a good six inches above the base of the windshield. And it makes it a major pain to remove for theft prevention purposes.

I actually do understand their reluctance to legalize center mounts. I’ve yet to see a good discussion of the hazards of a center mount relative to passenger airbag position.

Oh yeah, the legal issues are moot if you use a good friction mount, which is my favorite way to drive with a GPS on the dash.

Here’s a PDF of the legislation.

Via Engadget.

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. I have been mounting my GPS up near the roof line, just to the right of the rear-view mirror. This keeps the power cord out of any danger zones, lets me program the system (while parked of course!), keeps it visible without blocking my view of anything except the black helicopters that keep following me, and its somewhere that I glance at while driving anyway. The decision of where the system can be mounted was based on where your parking stickers can be — but you dont need to touch your parking stickers and you dont need to be able to read them while driving either.

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