(WTAJ) — Hanging an air freshener or parking pass on your rearview mirror might not seem harmful, but could it land you with a ticket in Pennsylvania?
In Pa., it is illegal to hang something from your rearview mirror that could substantially obstruct a driver’s view, but the law leaves room for interpretation. According to the law, items described include signs, posters or other nontransparent material.
“No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any object or material hung from the inside rearview mirror or otherwise hung, placed or attached in such a position as to materially obstruct, obscure or impair the driver’s vision through the front windshield or any manner as to constitute a safety hazard,” Pa. law specifically states.
Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Illinois, California, Arizona and Texas are some of the few states that consider objects as small as air fresheners to be obstructive for drivers. This law, however, has come under scrutiny after a driver was fatally shot in April 2021.
A driver was allegedly pulled over by Minnesota police for an air freshener hanging from his mirror and during the stop police discovered that his registration tags were expired. After an alleged struggle, the driver was shot and killed by officers at the scene.
While the law can be viewed as subjective and vague, police have said traffic stops for minor violations have helped them solve more serious crimes according to a report from the Associated Press.
Drivers are allowed to have their GPS, registration stickers, sun visor and travel passes in their windshield without obstructing their view.
So, can you get pulled over for having something like an air freshener hanging from your rearview mirror? Ebensburg Assistant Chief of Police Robert Sapp says that police won’t pull you over for having one air freshener or anything alike on your rearview mirror, it only becomes an issue when there is a visual obstruction to either the front or back windshield.
In 2022, Philadelphia banned police from conducting stops on low-level traffic offenses and that includes being stopped for a review mirror decoration. Drivers are still eligible for a secondary-offense ticket if they are pulled over for a separate primary offense.