Washington State GPS Mounting Regulations
By Mike Goldstein
The Revised Code of Washington, or RCW, permits global positioning system, or GPS, devices to be used in motor vehicles only if they are affixed to the vehicle and operated by voice command. This law does not prohibit entering an address while stopped or by voice command while the vehicle is in motion.
Section 46.37.410 of the RCW prohibits anyone from driving with a GPS device affixed either permanently or temporarily to the windshield or side windows of a vehicle that is being driven or operated on public roads in the state of Washington.
Device Must be Permanently Attached
Section 46.61.668 of the RCW prohibits sending, reading and writing text messages on a wireless communication device while driving a motor vehicle. This section includes using a GPS device unless it is a "voice-operated [GPS] that is affixed to the vehicle and that allows the user to send or receive messages without diverting visual attention from the road or engaging the use of either hand." Pursuant to this section, the GPS device must be permanently attached to the vehicle and provide navigational guidance through auditory commands. It may be installed directly into the dashboard or affixed by another means into the dash or center console.
Violating either of these sections is a traffic infraction resulting in a fine. Using a handheld GPS device that is not permanently affixed to the dashboard or center console while driving is a primary offense that incurs a $124 fine (as of 2010).
Mike Goldstein has been writing since 2005 and has been published in "Science" and Boston College's "Intellectual Property and Technology Forum Law Review." He studied Shakespeare at Rutgers University, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English literature. Music and photography are two of his specialties.