You could be pulled over and FINED for hanging an air freshener from your rearview mirror
HANGING an air freshener in your car could mean you will be pulled over and handed a hefty fine.
A majority of states across the US have laws in place that make it illegal to hang anything from a rearview mirror that could obscure a driver's view.
On April 11, Daunte Wright was pulled over by officers for having an object hanging from his rearview mirror.
Moments later, the 20-year-old was shot dead by officer Kimberly Potter who drew her gun by mistake instead of her Taser.
Police Chief Tim Gannon described the shooting as an "accidental discharge".
Police said when they tried to arrest the driver, who they determined had an outstanding warrant, he got back in his vehicle.
"One officer discharged their firearm, striking the driver," police said. "The vehicle traveled several blocks before striking into another vehicle."
Wright died at the scene while his girlfriend – who was in the vehicle – also sustained injuries that were not life-threatening during the crash, police said.
The rule for which Wright was pulled over is Minnesota statue 169.71 which states that a "person shall not drive or operate any motor vehicle with any objects suspended between the drive and the windshield."
Laws about whether items can be hung on a rearview mirror depend from state to state.
States such as California and Pennsylvania prohibit drivers from hanging things near their windshield that could "materially obstruct" their vision.
During the pandemic in Maine last year, authorities warned locals to not hang their masks from their rearview mirror.
Policing advocate at the American Civil Liberties Union, Paige Fernandez told the New York Times that low-level infractions such as a hanging air freshener should not be handled by armed police officers.
“The danger that police traffic stops pose greatly outweighs any benefit of having them engage in that,” Fernandez said.
In 2017, after 1,4000 citations were made for people driving on Maryland highways with windshields obstructed by objects or materials the law was changed.
It is no longer a primary offense but a secondary offense which means that it can only be cited when a motorist has been pulled over for something more serious.
Virginia also followed suit changing the law in a broader package of reforms in the state.
Civil rights groups have said in the past that police often use the law in ways that disproportionately target non-white Americans.
"Black motorists, especially young men, have long noted how often they get stopped for petty traffic or equipment violations — failure to signal, broken license plate light, tinted windows and the like," The Pew Research Center said.
On April 23, Daunte Wright's mother broke down in tears as she told the 20-year-old's funeral that he was "loved by so many" and that "he should be burying her".
His mother Katie Wright battled through tears to tell the crowd gathered to remember him in Minneapolis that he "had a smile that was worth a million dollars."
The family of George Floyd was at the funeral, as well the relatives of Emmett Till, Philando Castile, and Breonna Taylor.
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