Are Car Air Fresheners Hanging on Your Mirror Legal in Montana?
The 2023 Montana legislature introduced a mindnumbing 1,698 bills, resolutions, and other measures. Many were pretty mundane; like updating wording or clarifications on existing laws. And thankfully, most of the nearly 1,700 topics died somewhere along the legislative process. I mean, can you imaging having to worry about 1,698 new laws?! Yikes. MTN covered a few of the major new rules that went into effect on July 1st.
At least five states ban air fresheners in car windows.
In a handful of states, driving with an air freshener (or anything else, I suppose) hanging from your mirror is illegal. Minnesota, California, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Texas all have regulations on their books regarding these so-called "air freshener" laws. Until last month, Illinois did too. Their law was repealed this year.
Many have questioned the air freshener laws, believing them to be an excuse for law enforcement to pull over a driver, then use the traffic stop as a reason to fish for drugs, warrants, or other illegal behavior. The same could be said about tinted windows. I've been pulled over on two separate occasions, in two different states (California and Idaho), solely based on the window tint of my car. I'm still mad about it, years later.
Go ahead, hang those scented little trees in Montana.
Montana does not prohibit the use of air fresheners hanging from our rearview mirrors. According to the Montana Free Press legislative dashboard (an excellent resource, btw), there were only ten new laws regarding vehicles that passed this session. None of them had anything to do with air fresheners.
Montana code 61-9-405 lays out everything you ever wanted to know about windows in cars. The main takeaway is that,
A person may not drive a motor vehicle with:
(a) a sign, poster, substance, or other nontransparent material upon the front windshield, side wings, or side or rear windows of the vehicle that materially obstructs, obscures, or impairs the driver's clear view of the highway or an intersecting highway; or
(b) a windshield that is shattered or in such a defective condition that it materially impairs or obstructs the driver's clear view.
Motorcycles, four-wheelers, and farm tractors do not require a windshield and if (for some reason?) your car or truck doesn't have a windshield, it's actually ok to drive it on public roads if you wear goggles or other eye protection.