WASHINGTON – Obscure as it may seem, it is possible to be stopped, ticketed and fined for hanging an air freshener from a car’s rear-view mirror.
The law has to do with “obstruction of view” through the windshield. From Virginia, to the District, to Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, police officers are well within their right to stop you and ticket you for the offense.
Many times, other circumstances play a role, says a Montgomery County Police spokesman.
“Did it cause a collision? Or a near miss? How big is it? How is it placed? Did it obstruct the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle?” writes Captain Paul Starks in an email to WTOP.
Virginia code section 46.2-1054 outlines the suspension of objects or alteration of vehicle so as to obstruct driver’s view:
It shall be unlawful for any person to drive a motor vehicle on a highway in the Commonwealth with any object or objects, other than a rear view mirror, sun visor, or other equipment of the motor vehicle approved by the Superintendent, suspended from any part of the motor vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct the driver’s clear view of the highway through the windshield, the front side windows, or the rear window, or to alter a passenger-carrying vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct the driver’s view through the windshield.
One law enforcement source tells WTOP that often, there could be more to a stop for an air freshener than just the air freshener. For example, the officer may have reason to suspect something else is going on.
Ricardo Kerns of Oxon Hill tells Channel 4 he was just pulled over in D.C. and given a $35 ticket for driving with an air freshener. He also received an $800 fine for driving without proper insurance and failure to prove he had insurance.