Bumper stickers are everywhere. They can reflect a car owner’s personality or views, advertise a product or service, or serve as a souvenir. Whatever the case, we see them on cars all the time, and they can be interesting and entertaining to read. Though they’re fun to buy and add a personal touch, can police stop cars for their bumper stickers?
Are bumper stickers illegal anywhere?
Putting a bumper sticker on your car seems like an easy decision and something so common that no one would give it a second thought. After all, it’s not as if it affects your driving abilities, and so many cars have them that it makes it hard to think anything might actually be wrong. However, you might wonder if bumper stickers are illegal in certain places, and the truth is that the laws regarding car stickers can be tricky.
A bumper sticker is usually no more than a slogan or other simple message, but we have all seen a few that can be a bit offensive. According to Freedom Forum Institute, bumper stickers are everywhere. Even so, when bumper stickers cross the line into vulgar or offensive, drivers in some states have received citations.
In fact, a Georgia law states, “No person owning, operating, or using a motor vehicle in this state shall knowingly affix or attach to any part of such motor vehicle any sticker, decal, emblem, or other device containing profane or lewd words describing sexual acts, excretory functions, or parts of the human body.”
Do bumper stickers make it likelier for the police to stop you?
It goes without saying that when a driver is not operating a car safely, they are likely to be pulled over and at least given a warning about their behavior. But if someone is obeying all traffic laws , can their bumper stickers make them targets for law enforcement? That depends.
For instance, if the bumper sticker is a friendly one with the name of a vacation spot, or if it displays the name of a school, chances are, that person won’t be likelier to get pulled over than anyone else. However, Free Wisdom reports that a controversial or offensive bumper sticker indeed makes the driver likelier to get stopped.
It is legal for cops to ticket you for messages they deem inappropriate?
So, are bumper stickers a legal reason to be pulled over? Let’s say a driver has violated no traffic laws, and there’s no legitimate reason for law enforcement to stop the vehicle. Can a police officer pull that person over simply because of a bumper sticker on the back of their car?
According to Action News, it’s a little complicated. Cops won’t stop a driver for a non-offensive bumper sticker that isn’t doing something like blocking their view. But if a police officer has another valid reason to pull you over, an offensive bumper sticker could certainly add fuel to the fire.
That being said, you can definitely get pulled over for an offensive, vulgar, or discriminatory message on a bumper sticker.