From help with traffic to keeping in touch or weather updates, we all habitually use our phones in the car. For such an integral part of driving today, there isn’t one place you can out your phone to view it. On your lap? Ah, no. On the center console? Sure, but then you have to take your eyes off of the road to look at it. How about your windshield? Is it illegal to mount your phone there? It depends. Read on to find out which states and where on your windshields you can mount a phone and avoid the police in your rearview mirror.
Some states allow it and some don’t
First, some states allow it and some don’t, regardless of where you decide to mount it. And the problem with violating that state’s law that won’t allow it is that it is so visible. Hey, it’s mounted on a window, it can be seen both inside and outside.
Then it can depend on where on the windshield you mount it. Some states are picky about that according to imagnetmount. So below we try to break down all of the were and where-nots of phone use and placement. The first section is a list of states with no verbiage related to phones or their location. Check your specific state’s guidelines and laws in case of changes since this was written. So these states allow mounting your phone anywhere on the windshield:
Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Vermont.
These states allow limited phone use but do have some limitations
The next list has states that allow limited phone use but do have limitations on where you can place it on the windshield. Usually, it is required that mounts be located at the bottom of the windshield in a five-inch square on the driver’s side. They also will allow mounts on the bottom of the windshield in a seven-inch square. You should research each state in case of changes or for clarity:
Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, and Utah.
The following states DO NOT allow phones or GPS devices on a vehicle’s windshield. They make specific mention of obstruction of non-transparent materials-that means a phone. These states are:
Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
If it is up to interpretation it might be best not to have courts determine your situation
For those states that do not allow phones in the windshield, some are more specific than others. In DC, you can’t have any device in your car unless it is hands-free. For Connecticut, there is an opening to allow if it can be shown that there is “more than a hypothetical possibility of the item blocking the field of vision.” But since that is up to interpretation it might be best not to have the courts determine your situation. Don’t mount your phone and avoid a ticket.
Also in Connecticut as well as in DC, there are other circumstances worth looking at. In Maine, it states that “everything which is not forbidden is allowed.” Since only window tinting is specifically mentioned as an obstruction so without mention of a phone mounting it to the windshield is legal.