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As the Chief: Don't let navigation system distract you

Roger Pohlman

"Ask The Chief" allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us.

Q: Are dashboard and windshield mount/holder for global positioning systems/navigational systems legal for use?

A: Yes. You can now lawfully use a GPS in your automobile if mounted properly. The GPS must be mounted near the bottommost part of a vehicle's windshield.

I want to caution you that the navigational system must be mounted in the "bottommost" portion of the window, the system must not obstruct your vision of the road. If mounted too high on the windshield, you may be stopped for a windshield obstruction.

I also want to caution everyone that GPS system can take a driver's focus off the road. I prefer to program my GPS to my destination prior to departing and keep the voice command on so I can stay focused on the road and not the GPS.

Windshield prohibitions are:

(a) A person shall not drive or operate any motor vehicle with:

(1) a windshield cracked or discolored to an extent to limit or obstruct proper vision;

(2) any objects suspended between the driver and the windshield, other than:

(i) sun visors;

(ii) rearview mirrors;

(iii) driver feedback and safety monitoring equipment when mounted immediately behind, slightly above, or slightly below the rearview mirror;

(iv) global positioning systems or navigation systems when mounted or located near the bottommost portion of the windshield; and

(v) electronic toll collection devices; or

(3) any sign, poster, or other nontransparent material upon the front windshield, sidewings, or side or rear windows of the vehicle, other than a certificate or other paper required to be so displayed by law or authorized by the state director of the Division of Emergency Management or the commissioner of public safety.

(b) Paragraph (a), clauses (2) and (3), do not apply to law enforcement vehicles.

(c) Paragraph (a), clause (2), does not apply to authorized emergency vehicles.

References:

1. Minnesota State Statue: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169.71

2. Driver's Manual: https://driving-tests.org/minnesota/mn-dmv-drivers-handbook-manual/

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