Driving with disabled placard on your mirror

The in basket: Beverly Romig said it irritates her to see drivers with handicapped parking placards dangling from their rearview mirrors as they drive.

The placards instruct the driver to remove it from the mirror when driving.

She asked about it at a recent AARP driving course, she said, and the instructor didn’t have an answer. He suggested she ask me.

When I asked if it’s an infraction to disregard the instruction, I drew a comparison between that, air fresheners, fuzzy dice and even driving with a dog in your lap, something that isn’t specifically illegal, but can result in a citation if the driver is obviously struggling to control the car.

The out basket: Trooper Russ Winger of the State Patrol here, says, “I am not aware of any specific (law) that prohibits driving with a disabled placard hanging on a mirror.


“I would say that it is a bad idea” Russ said, “to drive with any object – or pet – that might interfere with the driver’s ability to observe other motorists, make appropriate eye contact with other motorists at intersections, or identify hazards to safe driving. Specific items hanging from a mirror are not identified in any RCW.


“Any officer would have to make a judgment call when observing this type of thing,” he said. “If an infraction ticket were issued the officer should be able to articulate why they felt it was a clear hazard. More than likely it would be after the fact, when this situation may have either caused or contributed to a collision.”

8 thoughts on “Driving with disabled placard on your mirror

  1. On a side note, this is illegal in South Dakota. We were driving on I-90 and crossed the Wyoming/SD border, a state patrol vehicle pulls alongside us and looked for a while, dropped back, and pulled us over. We had a very small trinket made by one of our kids hanging from the rear view mirror. He searched are car, found nothing, and lets us go. I was later told by locals that they made this law to target drug runners coming from Washington State.

  2. if this is all Beverly Romig has to complain about then life must be good. i suggest this person to pay more attention to the road than looking for whats on my rear view mirror.

  3. Here, here Scott. Mrs. Romig, bomney really needs to find something to do with her lonely life. Other than worry about what’s in someone’s driver window. Worry about those dogs people travel around town in their laps while driving. Now that’s something to whine over.After all, having a dog in your lap while driving only surfed up when you couldn’t have your child there.

  4. Suggestion: Rotate the placard 180 degrees when driving. That gets it out of your line of sight (and that of busybodies bothered by it). When you park, rotate it back into visible position again.

  5. So actually the question would be to Ms. Romig.. WHY does the placard irritate you? I can see why some would place it there and leave it for convenience. Taking it off each time you get back into the vehicle only to stop at another place, retrieve it and so on and so forth is a waste of time. Not to mention the possibility of losing it somewhere in the vehicle (dropped behind the seat, stuck down in the seat cushion, etc.)

    Is there a more deep-seated reason for such a tiny piece of plastic to bring on such annoyance? Where you denied a handicapped placard? Or had a temporary one and now that it’s gone, you’re jealous of those who have a permanent one? Not that it matters to me… just asking.

  6. Maybe Beverly has noticed something similar to my experience. There seems to be a correlation between having a placard on a mirror and not being able to operate a vehicle. Sometimes I speculate that the inability to operate the vehicle may have resulted in receiving the placard.

    While I’m not sure if the placard causes any trouble, I appreciate having it as a warning indicator.

  7. I don’t understand why people are complaining about a person bringing to light a driving hazard. It clearly states on the placard to remove it when driving. If the driver is the one who is handicapped, they don’t need something obstructing their vision. If child runs into the street after a ball, you don’t want to see that at the last moment but as soon as the child enters your line of sight.

    So, yes, I, too, find it irritating. But then, I find cars that have burned out brake lights irritating, too, and see them nearly every day.

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