Arizona Drivers Can Be Pulled Over For Hanging Items On Rearview Mirror
Daunte Wright was killed by police at a traffic stop in Minnesota last week. His mother says he was originally pulled over for an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror.
Minnesota law says it’s illegal to drive with something hanging from your rearview mirror, as it obstructs the drivers’ vision.
Arizona has a similar law. According to Arizona State Statute 28, a person cannot drive with anything obstructing their view hanging from their rearview mirror.
Police are allowed to stop any driver that fits that qualification. Arizona State University School of Criminology Professor and former assistant Phoenix Police Chief Kevin Robinson says laws like this are mostly used to stop suspicious vehicles.
“I notice that you have an air freshener hanging from your rearview mirror, and I pull you over for that alone, and then I’m checking you out, running a records check, seeing if you have any warrants for your arrest,” said Robinson.
Robinson says laws like this are initially written for good reasons, but reduce trust in police in the community when police choose when to enforce them.
“It may have been written because someone may have had something really large hanging at one point, and that would obstruct their vision. But now, people use it for all kinds of reasons, use it for different stops,” said Robinson.
A version of this law exists in six states across the country, including California and Texas.