With varying requirements across Northern New England to use masks/facial coverings in public, many motorists are keeping masks in their vehicles. A common observation finds motorists hanging masks from the rear-view mirror as a convenient way to keep them handy.
However, a mask or any other object hanging from a mirror can partially block your field of vision, increasing the risk of a crash, according to AAA New England.
“Having a clear field of vision is extremely important to your safety when on the road,” said Pat Moody, manager of public affairs for AAA Northern New England. “Items such as masks, air fresheners, parking placards or anything else that reduces your ability to see things around you is a safety hazard and in many states the act is against the law.”
Maine: A person may not operate a motor vehicle with an object placed or hung in or on the vehicle, other than the required or provided equipment of the vehicle, in a manner that obstructs or interferes with the view of the operator through the windshield or prevents the operator from having a clear and full view of the road and conditions of traffic.” minimum fine of $325.
New Hampshire: Illegal to drive a motor vehicle with any item, sticker, sign, poster, or another nontransparent object or material “upon or adjacent to the front windshield” if the item obstructs the driver’s “clear view of the way or any intersecting way.” Fine $75
Vermont: Obstructing windshields, windows (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person shall not operate a motor vehicle on which material or items have been painted or adhered on or over, or hung in back of, any transparent part of a motor vehicle windshield, vent windows, or side windows located immediately to the left and right of the operator.
In a typical city, a driver encounters as many as 200 situations per mile. The eyes provide nearly 90 percent of the information needed to respond to road conditions, traffic patterns, signs and signals. Obstructing your field of vision, even partially, can cause you to miss things that should be seen, such as signs, pedestrians, wildlife, motorcycles, bikes, or other vehicles.