Where can I place my windscreen-mounted sat-nav or dashcam to avoid a fine and penalty points?

Have you got an aftermarket sat-nav or dashcam stuck to your car’s windscreen? Where you place it could be putting you at risk of receiving a fine – or causing an accident?

Here’s what you need to know about sat-nav or dashcam placement…

What does the law say about placement?

Look away now... placing your sat-nav or dashcam here could leave you with a fine and penalty points. Source: Thinkstock

Look away now… placing your sat-nav or dashcam here could leave you with a fine and penalty points. Source: Thinkstock

Here’s where the problem lies – there is no specific law covering where your non-factory-fitted sat-nav or dashcam should be placed on your windscreen.

The Highway Code says “windscreens and windows MUST be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision”.

So the Highway Code says I can’t fix anything to my windscreen?

No, it’s saying that the screen must be free from obstructions to vision, which suggests you can place the device on the window, but it should be very low on the windscreen and not impair vision through the screen or mirrors.

A document published by the Department for Transport in 2009, says areas swept by windscreen wipers should be kept clear of damage and stickers or devices.

Sat-nav maker, TomTom talks about a thin strip outside of the drivers 45-degree vision, where it is safe to place a device. See below for more information on placement.

So, as long as it’s placed low down, I will be okay?

The shaded areas show where it's likely to be acceptable to place your device. Placement is at user's own risk

The shaded areas show where it’s likely to be acceptable to place your device. Placement is at user’s own risk

Technically, putting anything on the windscreen could result in being pulled over by cops, but – barring any ridiculous placement – this is unlikely if you place the device low on the screen and out of the driver’s direct line of sight.

The graphic above can be used for guidance. The shaded areas show where it’s likely to be acceptable to place a sat-nav or dashcam.

Can I place a sat-nav on the side window?

As long as it doesn’t obscure vision out of the window or to the wing mirrors, then there’s no reason not to do so.

What do the experts say?

As reported in the Sun, Jack Cousens, head of roads policy at the AA, said: “The law is simply not that specific when it comes to installing a sat-nav, or a dash cam on your windscreen.

“Even official government information related to the changes to the driving test show a sat nav centrally mounted – but importantly low down where it doesn’t interfere with the driver’s view of the road.”

Can the police stop me if the sat-nav or dashcam is incorrectly located?

Yes! If the police believe a device is obscuring your vision, they can stop you and impose a £100 fine, along with three penalty points.

What about using my mobile phone as a sat-nav?

Phones being used as sat-navs and dashcams must also comply with rules

Phones being used as sat-navs and dashcams must also comply with the same rules

The same rules apply to placement for mobile phones running sat-nav or dashcam apps.

What does the Highway Code says about sat-navs in general?

Number 150 of section 8 states: “You MUST exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times. Do not rely on driver assistance systems such as cruise control or lane departure warnings. They are available to assist but you should not reduce your concentration levels.

“Do not be distracted by maps or screen-based information (such as navigation or vehicle management systems) while driving or riding. If necessary find a safe place to stop.”


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