Nothing on your windshield

Jan 1, 2007 by

Now that you have that cool new portable GPS for your car, can you suction cup it to the windshield?

Not according to the California DMV.

To quote the California Vehicle Code “Section  26708.   (a) (1) No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any object or material placed, displayed, installed, affixed, or applied upon the windshield or side or rear windows.”   What you can do is glue it to the dashboard or use a beanbag with Velcro to stick it to top of the dashboard, (but don’t obstruct your view).

Well what about my fuzzy dice and bronzed baby shoes hanging from the rear view mirror? No good on that either- California Vehicle Code   “Section  26708.   (a)  (2) No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any object or material placed, displayed, installed, affixed, or applied in or upon the vehicle which obstructs or reduces the driver’s clear view through the windshield or side windows.”  Those fuzzy dice obstruct your view.

What about small stickers or decals? There are two exceptions- you may put stickers in a seven inch square area in the lower corner of the windshield farthest from the driver or in a five inch square in the lower corner nearest the driver. California Vehicle Code   “Section  26708.   (b) (3) Signs, stickers, or other materials which are displayed in a 7-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver, signs, stickers, or other materials which are displayed in a 7-inch square in the lower corner of the rear window farthest removed from the driver, or signs, stickers, or other materials which are displayed in a 5-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest the driver.”

What about transponders for the car pool lane? Transponders are ok if installed in a five inch square  in the upper center of the windshield. California Vehicle Code “Section  26708.   (b) (11) An electronic communication device affixed to the center uppermost portion of the interior of a windshield within an area that is not greater than 5 inches square, if the device provides either of the following:
(A) The capability for enforcement facilities of the Department of the California Highway Patrol to communicate with a vehicle equipped with the device.
(B) The capability for electronic toll and traffic management on public or private roads or facilities.”

While we are at it-what about covering the windshield VIN so the bad guys can’t steal my car’s identity?  This gets a little more complicated. Both Federal and state laws are involved.  Federal law requires the manufacturers to place the VIN in a clearly visible location.  This is a NHTSA requirement upon the manufacturers.  The California requirement is that the vehicle must not have a VIN that is “removed, defaced, altered, or destroyed.”  If a peace officer discovers such a vehicle, he is to impound it, and this starts the disposition process.   Nothing in the section precludes the return of a seized vehicle following presentation of satisfactory evidence of ownership, however.  A courteous driver who gives no offense to an inspecting police officer would probably not have a problem demonstrating that the windshield VIN was not removed, defaced, altered, or destroyed, thereby demonstrating satisfactory ownership.  An obnoxious blowhard would probably have his car impounded under the “tell it to the judge” school of thought.
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The full text of the appropriate sections follows.

California Vehicle Code
Material Obstructing or Reducing Driver’s View
26708.   (a) (1) No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any object or material placed, displayed, installed, affixed, or applied upon the windshield or side or rear windows.
(2) No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any object or material placed, displayed, installed, affixed, or applied in or upon the vehicle which obstructs or reduces the driver’s clear view through the windshield or side windows.
(3) This subdivision applies to a person driving a motor vehicle with the driver’s clear vision through the windshield, or side or rear windows, obstructed by snow or ice.
(b) This section does not apply to any of the following:
(1) Rearview mirrors.
(2) Adjustable nontransparent sunvisors which are mounted forward of the side windows and are not attached to the glass.
(3) Signs, stickers, or other materials which are displayed in a 7-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver, signs, stickers, or other materials which are displayed in a 7-inch square in the lower corner of the rear window farthest removed from the driver, or signs, stickers, or other materials which are displayed in a 5-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest the driver.
(4) Side windows which are to the rear of the driver.
(5) Direction, destination, or termini signs upon a passenger common carrier motor vehicle or a schoolbus, if those signs do not interfere with the driver’s clear view of approaching traffic.
(6) Rear window wiper motor.
(7) Rear trunk lid handle or hinges.
(8) The rear window or windows, when the motor vehicle is equipped with outside mirrors on both the left- and right-hand sides of the vehicle that are so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway through each mirror for a distance of at least 200 feet to the rear of the vehicle.
(9) A clear, transparent lens affixed to the side window opposite the driver on a vehicle greater than 80 inches in width and which occupies an area not exceeding 50 square inches of the lowest corner toward the rear of that window and which provides the driver with a wide-angle view through the lens.
(10) Sun screening devices meeting the requirements of Section 26708.2 installed on the side windows on either side of the vehicle’s front seat, if the driver or a passenger in the front seat has in his or her possession a letter or other document signed by a licensed physician and surgeon certifying that the person must be shaded from the sun due to a medical condition, or has in his or her possession a letter or other document signed by a licensed optometrist certifying that the person must be shaded from the sun due to a visual condition. The devices authorized by this paragraph shall not be used during darkness.
(11) An electronic communication device affixed to the center uppermost portion of the interior of a windshield within an area that is not greater than 5 inches square, if the device provides either of the following:
(A) The capability for enforcement facilities of the Department of the California Highway Patrol to communicate with a vehicle equipped with the device.
(B) The capability for electronic toll and traffic management on public or private roads or facilities.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), transparent material may be installed, affixed, or applied to the topmost portion of the windshield if the following conditions apply:
(1) The bottom edge of the material is at least 29 inches above the undepressed driver’s seat when measured from a point 5 inches in front of the bottom of the backrest with the driver’s seat in its rearmost and lowermost position with the vehicle on a level surface.
(2) The material is not red or amber in color.
(3) There is no opaque lettering on the material and any other lettering does not affect primary colors or distort vision through the windshield.
(4) The material does not reflect sunlight or headlight glare into the eyes of occupants of oncoming or following vehicles to any greater extent than the windshield without the material.
(d) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), clear, colorless, and transparent material may be installed, affixed, or applied to the front side windows, located to the immediate left and right of the front seat if the following conditions are met:
(1) The material has a minimum visible light transmittance of 88 percent.
(2) The window glazing with the material applied meets all requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 205 (49 C.F.R. 571.205), including the specified minimum light transmittance of 70 percent and the abrasion resistance of AS-14 glazing, as specified in that federal standard.
(3) The material is designed and manufactured to enhance the ability of the existing window glass to block the sun’s harmful ultraviolet A rays.
(4) The driver has in his or her possession, or within the vehicle, a certificate signed by the installing company certifying that the windows with the material installed meet the requirements of this subdivision and identifies the installing company and the material’s manufacturer by full name and street address, or, if the material was installed by the vehicle owner, a certificate signed by the material’s manufacturer certifying that the windows with the material installed according to manufacturer’s instructions meets the requirements of this subdivision and identifies the material’s manufacturer by full name and street address.
(5) If the material described in this subdivision tears or bubbles, or is otherwise worn to prohibit clear vision, it shall be removed or replaced.
Amended Sec. 77, Ch. 1154, Stats. 1996. Effective September 30, 1996.
Amended Sec. 1, Ch. 476, Stats. 1998. Effective January 1, 1999.

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California Vehicle Code
Manufacturers’ Serial or Identification Numbers
10751.   (a) No person shall knowingly buy, sell, offer for sale, receive, or have in his or her possession, any vehicle, or component part thereof, from which any serial or identification number, including, but not limited to, any number used for registration purposes, that is affixed by the manufacturer to the vehicle or component part, in whatever manner deemed proper by the manufacturer, has been removed, defaced, altered, or destroyed, unless the vehicle or component part has attached thereto an identification number assigned or approved by the department in lieu of the manufacturer’s number..
(b) Whenever a vehicle described in subdivision (a), including a vehicle assembled with any component part which is in violation of subdivision (a), comes into the custody of a peace officer, it shall be destroyed, sold, or otherwise disposed of under the conditions as provided in an order by the court having jurisdiction. No court order providing for disposition shall be issued unless the person from whom the property was seized, and all claimants to the property whose interest or title is on registration records in the Department of Motor Vehicles, are provided a postseizure hearing by the court having jurisdiction within 90 days after the seizure. This subdivision shall not apply with respect to a seized vehicle or component part used as evidence in any criminal action or proceeding. Nothing in this section shall, however, preclude the return of a seized vehicle or a component part to the owner by the seizing agency following presentation of satisfactory evidence of ownership and, if determined necessary, upon the assignment of an identification number to the vehicle or component part by the department.
(c) Whenever a vehicle described in subdivision (a) comes into the custody of a peace officer, the person from whom the property was seized, and all claimants to the property whose interest or title is on registration records in the Department of Motor Vehicles, shall be notified within five days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, after the seizure, of the date, time, and place of the hearing required in subdivision (b). The notice shall contain the information specified in subdivision (d).
(d) Whenever a peace officer seizes a vehicle described in subdivision (a), the person from whom the property was seized shall be provided a notice of impoundment of the vehicle which shall serve as a receipt and contain the following information:
(1) Name and address of person from whom the property was seized.
(2) A statement that the vehicle seized has been impounded for investigation of a violation of Section 10751 of the California Vehicle Code and that the property will be released upon a determination that the serial or identification number has not been removed, defaced, altered, or destroyed, or upon the presentation of satisfactory evidence of ownership of the vehicle or a component part, if no other person claims an interest in the property; otherwise, a hearing regarding the disposition of the vehicle shall take place in the proper court.
(3) A statement that the person from whom the property was seized, and all claimants to the property whose interest or title is on registration records in the Department of Motor Vehicles, will receive written notification of the date, time, and place of the hearing within five days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, after the seizure.
(4) Name and address of the law enforcement agency where evidence of ownership of the vehicle or component part may be presented.
(5) A statement of the contents of Section 10751 of the Vehicle Code.
(e) A hearing on the disposition of the property shall be held by the superior court within 90 days after the seizure. The hearing shall be before the court without a jury. A proceeding under this section is a limited civil case.
(1) If the evidence reveals either that the serial or identification number has not been removed, defaced, altered, or destroyed or that the number has been removed, defaced, altered, or destroyed but satisfactory evidence of ownership has been presented to the seizing agency or court, the property shall be released to the person entitled thereto. Nothing in this section precludes the return of the vehicle or a component part to a good faith purchaser following presentation of satisfactory evidence of ownership thereof upon the assignment of an identification number to the vehicle or component part by the department.
(2) If the evidence reveals that the identification number has been removed, defaced, altered, or destroyed, and satisfactory evidence of ownership has not been presented, the vehicle shall be destroyed, sold, or otherwise disposed of as provided by court order.
(3) At the hearing, the seizing agency has the burden of establishing that the serial or identification number has been removed, defaced, altered, or destroyed and that no satisfactory evidence of ownership has been presented.
(f) This section does not apply to a scrap metal processor engaged primarily in the acquisition, processing, and shipment of ferrous and nonferrous scrap, and who receives dismantled vehicles from licensed dismantlers, licensed junk collectors, or licensed junk dealers as scrap metal for the purpose of recycling the dismantled vehicles for their metallic content, the end product of which is the production of material for recycling and remelting purposes for steel mills, foundries, smelters, and refiners.
Amended Sec. 455, Ch. 931, Stats. 1998. Effective September 28, 1998.
Amended Sec. 596, Ch. 784, Stats. 2002. Effective January 1, 2003.

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[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 49, Volume 5, Parts 400 to 999]
[Revised as of October 1, 2000]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE49CFR565.4]

[Page 159-160]

TITLE 49–TRANSPORTATION

CHAPTER V–NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC
SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT
OF TRANSPORTATION

PART 565–VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER REQUIREMENTS–Table of Contents

Sec. 565.4 General requirements.

(a) Each vehicle manufactured in one stage shall have a VIN that is
assigned by the manufacturer. Each vehicle manufactured in more than one
stage shall have a VIN assigned by the incomplete vehicle manufacturer.
Vehicle alterers, as specified in 49 CFR 567.7, shall utilize the VIN
assigned by the original manufacturer of the vehicle.
(b) Each VIN shall consist of seventeen (17) characters.
(c) A check digit shall be part of each VIN. The check digit shall
appear in position nine (9) of the VIN, on the vehicle and on any
transfer documents containing the VIN prepared by the manufacturer to be
given to the first owner for purposes other than resale.
(d) The VINs of any two vehicles manufactured within a 30-year
period shall not be identical.
(e) The VIN of each vehicle shall appear clearly and indelibly upon
either a part of the vehicle, other than the glazing, that is not
designed to be removed except for repair or upon a separate plate or
label that is permanently affixed to such a part.

[[Page 160]]

(f) The VIN for passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles and
trucks of 4536 kg or less GVWR shall be located inside the passenger
compartment. It shall be readable, without moving any part of the
vehicle, through the vehicle glazing under daylight lighting conditions
by an observer having 20/20 vision (Snellen) whose eye-point is located
outside the vehicle adjacent to the left windshield pillar. Each
character in the VIN subject to this paragraph shall have a minimum
height of 4 mm.
(g) Each character in each VIN shall be one of the letters in the
set: [ABCDEFGHJKLMNPRSTUVWXYZ] or a numeral in the set: [0123456789]
assigned according to the method given in Sec. 565.5.
(h) All spaces provided for in the VIN must be occupied by a
character specified in paragraph (g) of this section.
(i) The type face utilized for each VIN shall consist of capital,
sanserif characters.

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