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Is it legal to attach GPS units to car windshields?

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By Trooper Andy Schmidt Minnesota State Patrol

Question: I recently purchased a portable GPS unit for my car. When reading the directions it stated that in California and Minnesota you could not attach it to the windshield. What is the reason for this?

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Answer: Our law in Minnesota on this matter is changing and these units are becoming more popular than ever. Statute 169.71 sb 1 is changing to read, (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) global positioning systems or navigation systems when mounted or located near the bottommost portion of the windshield; and (iv) 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.

So you see the GPS unit mounted to the bottom portion of the windshield is legal in Minnesota. I have not been able to determine when this new law takes effect. If it hasn't already, it is close enough that I think officers will use good judgment. Please make sure that the unit does not interfere with your vision. Sometimes cities changed streets to a one way and if your GPS unit has been updated lately it may give you incorrect advice. So, from Trooper Andy, it is your responsibility, not the GPS unit's, to make sure you are driving according to our laws.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws in Minnesota, send your questions to Trooper Andy Schmidt, Minnesota State Patrol, 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. Or reach me at andrew.schmidt@state.mn.us.

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