The in basket: Flip Johnson of Bremerton asks, “Does Washington allow windshield suction mounts for GPS units, cell phones, and dash cameras?
“RCW 46.37.410 says, ‘No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any sign, poster, or other nontransparent material upon the front windshield, side wings, or side or rear windows of such vehicle which obstructs the driver’s clear view of the highway or any intersecting highway.’
“My GPS unit is nontransparent,”Flip said, “but I don’t think it obstructs my view of the highway. Do our local police and highway patrol officers issue citations for these devices?”
The out basket: Deputy Scott Wilson of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office says, ” (Mr.) Johnson is correct with his assessment of RCW 46.37.410 and according to the statute he could be issued a notice of infraction.
“Now, as with many statutes contained within RCW Title 46 there is what’s written in print and what’s actually enforced out on the roads and highways by law enforcement officers.
“All of us who have ‘worked the road’ have seen a variety of devices that drivers have affixed to their windshields and dashboards… GPS devices and cell phone holders being those most prominent.
“It’s a judgment call by the individual officer / deputy / trooper.
“To be clear, though,” Scott concluded, “if it’s determined that the affixed device was the cause of a motor vehicle collision due to its obstruction of a driver’s vision, even slightly, then I believe that you know what the outcome of the collision investigation will entail.”
State Trooper Russ Winger provided the state patrol’s viewpoint.
“These type of mounts and devices are not a problem unless they substantially interfere with driver visibility. Use common sense where you mount them and there should be no problem. They are a distraction so drivers should not program them when driving. Pull over and do that. Most modern units provide navigation and are not that difficult to use safely.”