Summer vacation season is in full swing and many people are traveling to unfamiliar locations thanks to the abundance of inexpensive GPS technology. You probably have one on your phone or mounted somewhere in your car. Even if you are one of the proud few who resist this technology in order to peruse your vintage 2000 road atlas, you still see GPS devices on many of the cars that zoom past you as you consult your atlas at a rest stop. What most of us don’t know, unfortunately, is that in many of the states that we’ll be driving in this summer, having a GPS positioned on your windshield is, in fact, illegal, and may even be a ticketable offense.
This is what is being discussed by some news agencies. Apparently, according to a POI Factory study, 28 states and 6 provinces have laws on their books that make using windshield mounted GPS units, or “non-transparent material” on the windshield illegal. Eight other states have specific restrictions regarding placement of GPS units or their size. Colorado is the lone western state that allows windshield mounted GPS units without restrictions, but every other western state either outright prohibits or has restrictions. The POI Factory study lists information about each state and province, as well as links to specific state law codes.
As odd as this all seems, given the abundance of GPS units out there, it can be one of those things that police may charge you with if there is something else you may have been doing wrong. That is what happened to a driver in New Jersey several years ago. Apparently, this person was pulled over for something unrelated to the GPS, and when the officer was unable to justify pulling her over, he gave her a ticket for having her GPS on her windshield, which was in accordance with New Jersey law.
For those of us out there who rely on GPS units to get us around, especially in unfamiliar areas, it might be a good idea to either consult the list of states that have restrictions, or mount our units somewhere besides the windshield. I think I would rather remember my summer vacation for the interesting places I visited, than for getting a ticket for having my GPS in the wrong place!