The California Assembly unanimously approved a bill that would allow drivers to take advantage of technology intended to help with navigation.
State law now prohibits anyone from driving with objects or materials placed, displayed, installed, affixed or applied upon windshields. Exceptions are made for such items as rearview mirrors, toll road transponders and small stickers.
Sponsored by Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, the bill – SB1567 –would allow global positions system devices to be affixed to vehicle windshields in specific locations. It now moves to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk. The Senate already approved it on a 38-1 vote.
Portable GPS devices would be authorized to be mounted “in the seven-inch square in the lower corner farthest removed from the driver.” They also could be installed “in the five-inch square in the lower corner nearest the driver.”
The devices could be used only for door-to-door navigation while the vehicle is in operation.
California is one of two states – Minnesota is the other – that allow drivers to be fined for mounting GPS navigation devices on vehicle windshields.
Advocates for the equipment say the devices lessen driver distraction by providing drivers real-time audible driving directions at eye level. Drivers no longer need to take their eyes off the road to look at either maps or directions printed from the Internet, they say.
If signed into law, the bill would take effect Jan. 1, 2009.
To view other legislative activities of interest for California in 2008, click here.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor