Is It Illegal to Have an Air Freshener Hanging from Your Rearview Mirror?
The fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during a routine traffic stop shed light on a significant but often overlooked traffic law. Initially pulled over for having expired car registration tags, Wright was also accused of having an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror. Police officers later discovered during the traffic stop that Wright had a gross misdemeanor warrant and attempted to arrest him as a result. Wright attempted to get back into his car when the police tried to arrest him for an unrelated warrant, which ended fatally.
Among the most surprising elements of this traffic stop is that the police raised the issue of a hanging air freshener. Many people don’t know that in New York and many other states, it is illegal to hang objects from a rearview mirror.
Hanging objects from your rearview mirror could obstruct your view or distract you from the roads, and if they are heavy enough, the objects could pull the rearview mirror off the windshield. This is because the mirror is glued to the windshield, so it can only support so much weight. If you are driving while this happens, you could easily get startled by the unexpected breakage and get into a car accident.
Besides the safety hazards of hanging objects from your rearview mirror, you could also in legal trouble. Under New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 375:
“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 matter 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 and conditions of traffic behind such vehicle.”
In other words, NY VAT Section 375 prohibits drivers from hanging items from their rearview mirrors. If you’re found guilty of this traffic violation, points may be assessed to your driving record and you could be subject to hefty fines. With this in mind, be sure to avoid hanging air fresheners or any other object from your rearview mirrors. A number of drivers tend to violate this law by hanging items such as:
- Dream catchers
- Fuzzy dice
As harmless as it may seem to hang objects from your rearview mirrors, understand that this violation could prompt police officers to look for other reasons to arrest you. Or, officers could give you an additional ticket for this violation after pulling you over for a different traffic offense, such as speeding.
The infamous Daunte Wright case teaches many lessons, one being that hanging objects from your rearview mirror is unlawful. If you got a ticket for this violation, give us a call at (212) 235-1525 to learn how we can help fight it!