Is Hanging Your Mask On Your Mirror Illegal in Idaho?
Masks. They're one of the things that the Treasure Valley never wants to see again once we're through the COVID-19 pandemic but for now? They're a reality, like it or not.
I certainly don't like the reality. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, seeing people wear face masks outside of situations like medical offices or salons where employees are working with strong chemicals made me incredibly uneasy. Even though I totally understand the science behind where we're wearing them now, they still make me uneasy and that's part of the reason why I'm not jumping into public situations quite yet.
You might not have a choice. You may need to shop somewhere requiring face coverings in order provide for your family, so you have one and keep it in your vehicle for when you need to run those errands. Your rearview mirror seems like a good place to hang it for easy access, but is that legal in Idaho?
Idaho Code 49-612 (1) reads: "No person shall drive a vehicle when it is so loaded or when there are in the front seat a number of persons exceeding three (3), as to obstruct the view of the driver to the front or the sides of the vehicle, or as to interfere with the driver’s control over the driving mechanism of the vehicle."
In a 2017 Q&A segment with MagicValley.com, Heyburn Police Chief Dan Bristol explained that that piece of codes mean that if you hang anything on your mirror that obstructs your view of oncoming traffic, you could be cited. Ironically, he used a bandana as an example. For those of us who don't have manufactured masks, bandanas have been a back-up.
According to an Idaho's Point Violation page on ITD's website, being convicted for an obstruction to driver's view violation could result in three points on your license. Once you hit 12 points in any 12 month period, your license is suspended for 30 days.
So the answer to our original question? While hanging things on your mirror is not explicitly illegal if there's a chance of your mask blocking your view, you could be cited. Points on your license just isn't worth it. We'd skip hanging it there.