Is it illegal to hang things from the rearview mirror in Australia?

For a lot of people, their car’s interior is an extension of their personality, and in many instances, that can extend to their faith, their hygiene or even their fun-loving personality.

  • If it could block your view, it could be illegal
  • Decorative items like fluffy dice could get you in strife
  • Other hanging objects like rosary beads or face masks could cop you a fine

You may have spotted a vehicle with a garland of flowers hanging from the rearview mirror, or maybe a set of fuzzy dice, a religious object such as rosary beads, or images of a god or gods. But any one of those things – or anything other than those that might obstruct your view – could get you into trouble.

And no, we’re not talking about trouble with the church for possibly violating canon law’s requirement that sacramentals be treated with due reverence (thank you, Catholic Answers for that), but in Australia there are laws around being able to have a clear view of the road ahead.

The Australian Road Rules 297 (2) states: “A driver must not drive a motor vehicle unless the driver has a clear view of the road, and traffic, ahead, behind and to each side of the driver.”

That may be left open to interpretation to a degree, but the intention appears clear. Don’t hang anything from the mirror that might get in the way of you finding your way on the road.

Think about it for a second. A pedestrian could walk out from behind a parked car, and if you don’t see them because your favourite stuffed toy is hanging down from the rearview mirror and blocking your view, you could be in a lot more trouble than just copping a fine.

The rules vary between different jurisdictions in Australia, but it’s much the same as the fuzzy dice situation. 

That means that in NSW you could be fined approximately $350 and be in line for three demerit points, too. In Queensland, the fine is similar, but with no demerit points enforceable. 

In Victoria, the state’s Infringement Code 2088 puts forward that an offence may be committed if a driver fails “to have full control [and an] uninterrupted view”. A fine of more than $200 is possible.

You might not get in strife if you have a small set of rosary beads, but if you’ve got a chrome crucifix the size of a small dog dangling down from your mirror, you may find that a police officer could enforce the rules dutifully.

Not intended as legal advice. Check with the relevant roads authority in your state or territory.

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