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I was taking a deposition recently and the issue of distractions on the windshield came up. In this case, the defendant had a large handicap sticker that may have played a role in what they could see. Pictures taken at the time of the collision verified that the obstruction was there. The testifying driver seems to have forgotten that. It’s not an issue in every case, but it can be.

It is a concern to see where people are placing the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in their cars. As of Aug. 1, 2009, the Minnesota legislature okayed the GPS to be mounted or located near the bottom most portion of a vehicle’s windshield. The provision, initially proffered by Rep. Al Juhnke (DFL-Willmar) and Sen. David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm) as HF85/SF323, as part of the omnibus public safety bill.

The key is that the early photographers were very important. It also is important which the windshield be free of cracks, obstacles, and items that will prevent drivers from seeing. Over the last year, more and more cars are adding navigation systems. I have one in my car. It has gotten me places faster, and most importantly, there. It just cannot be in vital sight lines and it also should not interfere with the deployment of an airbag.

Hopefully, this law change will make the positioning of the GPS uniform and clear for people to see other cars, motorcycles, and pedestrians. It’s a great help, but it needs to not be an obstruction.

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