Recently, the Virginia Court of Appeals legitimized the stop of a driver because law enforcement “observed a tree-shaped air freshener hanging” from the driver’s rear-view mirror.
In support of the stop, the Court cited a possible violation of the Virginia “Obstruction of View” statute. The Law that the Court focused on was Virginia Code Section 46.2-1054 that provides, in part:
It shall be unlawful for any person to drive …. 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…
I personally cannot remember the last time my air freshener blocked my view of the road! But what is truly concerning about this decision is that it essentially provides law enforcement a blank check to stop Virginia drivers if they have anything suspended from their rear-view mirror. So let it be known: take down your graduation tassels, Redskins lanyards, air fresheners, or whatever else you may have hanging from your rear view mirrors, or be ready to accept being stopped at any time.
And for those of you EZ pass users, you may want to think twice about leaving the pass up in your window.
What do you think about this case? Do you have questions or comments? Been pulled over for something like this? Give me a call or shoot me a comment.