Windshield obstruction law challenged in Vermont Supreme Court

Is a dangling air freshener from the rear view mirror illegal?  For 40 years in the State of Vermont a law has banned any such “obstructions”, a law that has opened the door for numerous traffic tickets and investigations by Vermont police officers.

The law as it stands right now states as follows:

“No person shall paste, stick, or paint advertising matter or other things on or over any transparent part of a motor vehicle windshield, vent windows, or side windows located immediately to the left and right of the operator, nor hang any object, other than a rear view mirror, in back of the windshield”.

However, there are numerous exceptions to the law that allow for stickers such as Vermont registration tags and other decals to be displayed on the windshield.

The argument before the Supreme Court is that an officer should not be allowed to pull over a motorist unless the item is actually obstructing the view of the driver, an objective viewpoint that could make it difficult for police to ticket any motorist for the infraction unless they had pulled the motorist over for a separate reason.

There is currently no timeline for when a decision will be made by the Supreme Court, but the discussion and opinion will certainly give some clarification and potential further grounds to bring forth a valid Vermont traffic ticket defense or suppression issue for a criminal charge that arose merely because of a violation of this outdated law.

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