This important question was raised via email to the Arrive Alive Road Safety Website:
“I hope you can help me or at least point me to someone/somewhere that can help. What does our traffic laws say about the placement of a GPS device on your front windshield? (is directly adjacent to the rear view mirror, to its right, acceptable?) Also what about listening to audio from a mobile audio player (such as an Ipod) in your car, having earphones stuck in your ears?”
The answer offered by our road safety expert:
The legislation does not allow for any object to be placed in such a manner or position that it will interfere with, or obstruct the view of, the driver. This does not necessarily refer to only directly in front of the driver, but includes all angles which the driver would need to use to observe traffic and / or pedestrians.
Low down on the dash seems to be the best point for these (near the radio or similar position – remember that the best alternative is to find a safe area, pull off, and then interact with the device. Alternatively, a passenger can assist). It would seem that a fair number of these devices are attached on top of the dash – in the middle of the vehicle, but low down on the windscreen.
Attaching next to the mirror is not a good idea (although not specifically referred to in legislation – but see the point earlier).
Driving with music directly “piped” to your ears is also not a good idea – you cannot hear hooters or any other sounds that would make your driving a safer experience. There is no direct legislation referring to this – apart from general duties of the driver to drive in a safe manner / charges of negligent driving could be argued here.
Also view the Arrive Alive Road Safety Website for more info on: