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Watch Out For Your Sat/Nav

Australia’s law enforcers are at it again! Not satisfied in raising a hornet’s nest over the proposed banning of mobile phones, we have reports that the Queensland constabulary are fining drivers over the use of their portable sat/nav devices! (and from the comments from some of our readers it seems it’s not only the Queensland Constabulary)

The police assert that if you locate your sat/nav within the sweep of the windscreen wipers (as shown above), then it creates a visual obstruction and a hazzard and you can be fined. They probably have a point, but where else do you put it?

Well, it is suggested by the authorities that you locate it on the bottom right hand corner of the windscreen, right out of the way.

But this means that you have to run the power cable across in front of you to reach the power socket, and that could cause a bigger danger. Of course you can buy a packet of self adhesive cable ties and run the cable as you need to, if you can find a matching colour for your trim. We couldn’t, all we could find from several auto stores and electrical outlets were white sticker packs that certainly didn’t look so good stuck on the dashboard!

Furthermore, if you have a passenger who can help you by reading out the instructions, it’s not much use out of sight. So we reckon the best spot is centrally mounted, out of the wiper sweep and easy for driver or passenger to read.

But then we are not absolutely sure we won’t be fined by Sergeant Plod!

What do you think? Is this over-policing? Are they being sensible, or unnecessarily officious? Where is the best -and safest place  for the sat/nav?

Have your say on the post below – we want to hear from you.

FOOTNOTE:- Our March Newsletter revealed the story about Hands Free Mobiles. It really created a furore, with the vast majority of our readers against the thought of banning hands-free mobiles in cars, and we are not the only ones. A spokesman from the Department Of Infrastructure and Transport told us “There has been a large public reaction to the draft strategy.” So a ‘refined’ version of the strategy is expected to be discussed by the various State transport ministers when they meet later this month. We’ll keep you posted.


  1. ken says:

    does that also mean we cannot use our sun visors as I use mine often and to the extend that to keep the sun out of my eyes i lift my seat, angle the visor and dont see much of the window at all. i would hate to think that i would hit a plane as i couldnt see it coming

    May 18th, 2011 at 8:04 am

  2. ken says:

    the police have devices”cameras” in their cars that sit well above the screen, higher than my sat nav anyway. so can we do a citizens arrest , take the devise off them and throw them a fine???
    this is just crazy, crazy, crazy QLD police

    May 18th, 2011 at 8:07 am

  3. Greg says:

    I have seen some satnav devices placed in some VERY stupid places that obviously impair vision. I think the bottom middle position as suggested in the article is a good place and the cops should be happy a it’s out of the wiper sweep.

    May 26th, 2011 at 12:34 pm

  4. john says:

    I have located mine on the dash next to the radio. Luckily there is a tray in the dash where I have been able to stick a flat base which the suction cap sticks to. What concerns me is that anywhere above the dash runs the risk of interfering with the airbags – I would hate to have an accident that the airbag would save me in, only to be killed or injured by a flying GPS coming at me in .o3 of a second at huge speed! Anyone who runs wires on the dash over airbag deployment footprints is running a huge risk in my view and that should be banned!

    May 26th, 2011 at 12:44 pm

  5. Lee says:

    I been unlucky enough to be fined by the Victorian police, I used my Sav/Nav to show that I wasn’t speeding so they then fined me, for the position I had my Sav/Nav, they call it an obstruction $312.00.

    So now I alway put it in the far right bottom corner and I have a power outlet install just below on the dash.

    May 26th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

  6. Neil says:

    Police are viewing computer screens, talking on radios and phones while driving. Wouldn’t that be a distraction or do they have special privilages over us.
    What about the location of the registration label if fixed correctly as per directions it is in the wiper sweep.

    May 26th, 2011 at 12:46 pm

  7. Brian Hannan says:

    I admit I have seen some silly GPS positioning so they have a partial point as some I have noted would impair visibility of other vehicles.
    But even on the dashboard some visual impairment usually results and being closer the angle blocked is greater.
    The aim of the Vic legislation was to ensure GPS were mounted and preferably at a spot that did not take eyes off road too much – the windscreen it is. (Where does that leave us with in-dash GPS?).
    The authorities suggestion is plain stupid. First, the bottom RH corner is often partially in the wiper sweep area anyway. Second, in cars with solid pillars (e.g. my RAV 4) a trip on narrow winding up and down mountain roads (e.g. Wulgumerang Junction to McKillops Bridge) requires optimum vision at times through that bottom RH area – not having it blocked by a GPS.
    Ah well, I guess Qld police will at least accept no crime if a P plate driver doesn’t have one displayed because it intrudes into the wiper sweep area 🙂

    May 26th, 2011 at 12:46 pm

  8. Andrew says:

    I suggest no one pay the fine, take it to court thereby tying the Police up. There will be less Police on the road to generate revenue and in the near future it will cease.

    May 26th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

  9. Frank says:

    I agree with previous comments that the police have items on their dash or windscreen that obstruct their view.
    They really need to advise where these items can be placed and also need to adress the suppliers / manufacturers not the end users.
    Why don’t they crack down on taxi drivers who have many items on the dash and always fiddle with them whilst driving.

    May 26th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

  10. Oz says:

    I’m sure we all could mount our Sat navs in a way that it does not obscure our vision, i have a couple of places that i can mount my 7″ sat nav.

    I often see cars with the sat nav mounted right in the middle of the windscreen…. A bit of common sense people.

    May 26th, 2011 at 12:56 pm

  11. Greg says:

    I have mine mounted bottom right of screen. The cable runs under the dash and behind the door rubber of the ‘A’ pillar. Perfect!.
    I have seen numerous (and I don’t want to sound racist here but) asian drivers where it’s mounted right in front of their eyes. How ridiculous is that? They should get fined.
    I agree with the police, anything that is in the usual field of view is a no no.

    May 26th, 2011 at 1:02 pm

  12. Doug says:

    I agree with Ken if its good enough for them to have distraction in the patrol cars we are able to have same in our vehicles the law is for the protection of the people and applies to all if we are subject to fines so are they
    And dealing with phones hands free or phone to ear do truck drivers get booked for using the twoway radio do police get booked for using the same

    May 26th, 2011 at 1:16 pm

  13. Peter says:

    if I had as much obscuring the windscreen as the average police car I guess I would lose my licence for dangerous driving.

    Probably safer at the base of the windscreen in front of the driver than in the bottom right corner, people tend to steer in the direction they look.

    Like ken says, I do obscure parts of the swept area of the windscreen regularly in the interests of safety, with a sun visor!

    May 26th, 2011 at 1:18 pm

  14. Leo says:

    Best solution is to remove your wipers….

    The nanny state strikes again. Is looking at your Melways on the passenger seat an acceptable reason for getting a speeding or red light fine canceled?

    May 26th, 2011 at 1:21 pm

  15. Graham says:

    Its quite simple really All states have a law that says you cant have anything larger than 75mm in diameter above the bonnet line and in the drivers vision.
    Therefore Codan autotune aerials are 100mm in dia and technically illegal
    The police are excluded and allowed to have stuff like that there incidentally
    I have seen GPS’s mounted right in front of drivers at eye height so that they have to look around them, or just under the rearview mirror How stupid is that.
    You are supposed to watch the road and LISTEN TO THE GPS.
    I used a Nokia phone for a while and had it on trans console always got where I wanted to go without looking at it.
    Same with stupid Crystals that flash in your eyes and bloody fluffy dice type things that can hide a pedestrian.
    Look where you are going and hang the crap on the garage wall.

    Common sense here which unfortunately isnt all that common any more.

    May 26th, 2011 at 1:24 pm

  16. Richard Denton says:

    Too much molly coddling. Let’s face it some drivers are not very good drivers and they’re the ones who have and cause accidents. Do you realise that when the horseless carriage was invented (in England anyway) they limited speed to 15 mph. It was seen as a big jump from the horse and carriage. Likewise to our regressive speed fixation today. We’re still worrying about limits that were set 70/80 years ago when cars then were a handful at 60mph. Today cars are safer and handle infinitely better and speed restrictions should be constructed to reflect these facts. In Europe most autoroutes are set at 130kph and in Germany there are some without limit. We are behind in OZ.

    May 26th, 2011 at 1:24 pm

  17. Graham says:

    They are legally excluded from the rule if you care to look. and its a device.

    Devise is what you do to figure out a way to remove it.

    May 26th, 2011 at 1:26 pm

  18. Graeme Smith says:

    I think the police have a point. I have been trying to find the best place which provides me with the info but does not obstruct my view. I almost collided with a careless bike rider when my view was obscured by my sat nav.
    As an aircraft pilot who was involded to some extent with the introduction of GPS into aviation, the aircraft equivalent is now mounted within the confines of the instrument panel and I am experimenting with an adhesive which allows me to attach the GPS to the dash facia above the radio panel. However I drive an old car where there is room there–I undersand most modern vehicles have such a crowded dash that there would be no room.
    Maybe the time has come for the driver to make a selective choice–to decide what info provides them with the greatest safety and maybe they have to go without the other bits and pieces–that is, obscure them with your sat nav. There is so much info availabe in modern aircraft that pilots have to make selections and use only part of the info available–whichever they find the most useful and convenient for them–frequently a personal decision even in multi-crew aircraft.

    May 26th, 2011 at 1:26 pm

  19. andy says:

    yes – lets get rid of it –mmm at the same time lets get rid of the rear mirror as it also obstructs my view mm well lets get rid of the wiper it also distracyts my view better still – lets fine drivers who dare to use the wipers or rear mirror

    May 26th, 2011 at 1:34 pm

  20. Madimpulse says:

    I’m with the police on this one – Bottom Right Hand Corner – You can usually put the wire over the steering wheel head so it’s out of the way. The object should be to have minimum impairment to the driver’s line of sight!

    May 26th, 2011 at 1:58 pm

  21. Tom says:

    I have a BMW 125i (thank you Private Fleet!) with the portable sat nav option. This is centrally located, and is mounted in a special holder, with about half below the dash level. It seems to be a good spot.

    May 26th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

  22. Den says:

    I travelled through 4 European Countries and saw three traffic policeman. From Brisbane Airport , 45 klm to home , 5 Police including roadside Radar.
    Of course we need to clamp down on this heinous act of sat nav placement.. Remenber “Jobs for Queensland.”. If handled correctly this could possibly be a very lucrative nab for our state Police. It could possibly fund/lead to the building of a much needed Franchise Police store near you. Being the criminally descended Colonials we obviously must be, bring it on!!

    May 26th, 2011 at 2:19 pm

  23. Peter says:

    I would suggest to anyone reading this article that they should contact their local member of parliment (they’re usually very nice people) and register your disgust at this ridiculous waste of police resources! They should spend more time fining drivers who don’t use their indicators when changing lanes or entering roundabouts.

    May 26th, 2011 at 2:23 pm

  24. George says:

    If it is placed blatantly in the middle of the windscreen where it really is a vision obstruction then I think at most a warning, or is this a case of a motorist doing something silly that the police saw but can’t prove, so to give the driver a hard time pick on anything that might have some legal basis? Then again it could be a way to make some ” expected” infringement quota.

    Personally I hate extra clutter, fat A pillars are enough without hiding pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists behind extra added hardware.

    This is another reason for manufacturers to make integrated sat-nav available for a reasonable price with reasonable map update charges. Integrated is around 10 times more expensive than a good stick on unit, more on some upmarket cars, and often the map updates are 10 times or more expensive as well, no reason except profit taking.

    May 26th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

  25. Richard says:

    Its my understanding that having one of the car deoderising trees, or one of those crystals or the fluffy dice hanging from rear view mirror is also considered illegal for the same reason

    May 26th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

  26. Earle Howe says:


    When I was a late teen/early 20’s I bought or won a ‘dancing monkey’ from the Royal Show which I hung from the rear view mirror.

    One day I casually did a left turn on a narrow surburban street and nearly turned into an approaching car.

    I had definately checked left for any traffic and I can only assume it was the ‘dancing monkey’ which had hidden the approaching car from my view.

    A sat/nav located in a similar position would have had a similar outcome.

    I have to agree with the authorities that badly placed sat/navs are a danger to safe driving with possible dire outcomes.

    Earle Howe

    May 26th, 2011 at 2:55 pm

  27. James says:

    Sat/nav as in picture no. 3 above, is not a problem for anyone, provided it’s does not obstruct your vision. There are many devices in a police car that do.
    I think a phone hands free in your car is the way to go. If we cannot have this, then they have to ban car radio, cd player and your passenger talking to you when you are driving, which is impossible, specially your wife.

    May 26th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

  28. Nick Powell says:

    Always a concern when Queensland Traffic Clerks (that is all they are when working the roads) decide for themselves what is safe and what isn’t. Having spent a career with Qld Fire & Rescue, I have had sufficient interaction with police officers to form a healthy regard for my own judgement.

    I am more concerned that a person can die while in the direct care of a policeman in Queensland and 5 or 6 more of the Commissioner’s chosen few can can carry out a bodgie investigation to keep a lid on it. Not to mention the exceptionally brave policeman who repeatedly dropped the knee into a 65 year man old in the Queen Street mall while yet more equally brave police held him down at the time. Thank god for the judiciary, with the courts passing a sentence of common assault against the policeman a year after the internal police review found the complaint of assault against him not proved. And of course the Police union rep bleated that the poor old union members were hard done by, as this man “stared at them in a threating manner”

    May 26th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

  29. artywah says:

    The other problem I’ve found mounting the device to the right is that you take your eyes off the road for longer periods as looking to the middle of the dash you still have good peripheral vision of the road in front of you Vs looking down to the right.

    May 26th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

  30. Ian says:

    This country has become a Fascist republic, we all know that the cops are out there collecting revenue for the government. I’m all for safety on the road but have absolutely no respect for the lawmakers who are crippling people with their unjust fines. It’s more bull***t!

    May 26th, 2011 at 3:23 pm

  31. Glen says:

    Wait till the authorities realise that they can use the GPS tecnology of your satnav to track a car and tell what speed it is travelling or where it is. Imagine the infringement notices then.

    May 26th, 2011 at 3:41 pm

  32. Leigh says:

    I have to come down on the side of those who agree that there certainly are a number of drivers who have placed their sat-nav in locations that clearly [no pun intended] obstruct their forward vision.

    There has also been considerable discussion regarding the items that can be found obstructing the view of police vehicle drivers.

    I do not think I have seen any commentary around the huge items that taxi drivers all seem to have obstructing their field of view. As well as interestingly placed sat-nav they also have the A5-sized panels that I presume are linked to their ability to accept a booking… or whatever it is that these panels do.

    May 26th, 2011 at 4:26 pm

  33. Paul says:

    Another stupid excuse for the Police to raise revenue, and straight up the line of Political correctness. I hardly use my GPS, but wait till I get pulled over by the Police… I’ll show them exactly which location I would like to mount mine in future……????? Give us a break !!!!!

    May 26th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

  34. Julian says:

    They police are right on this one. Any significant obstruction or distraction in field fo view should be banned. Common sense would make the same point, but some people don’t seem to have enough. Fluffy dice, anything hanging can become a distraction in one of those difficult situations where circumstances converge to create an accident. Satnav in fov is the same; centre low on dash is a good position expecially because the passenger can then program it.

    Things in the way are a lot more likely to cause problems than doing 70 in a 60 zone.

    May 26th, 2011 at 5:33 pm

  35. Graham says:

    Read the thread THEY ARE EXEMPT

    May 26th, 2011 at 8:52 pm

  36. Graham says:

    Why dont you use the text to speech function and you dont have to look at it

    You are supposed to watch the road and LISTEN TO THE GPS.

    May 26th, 2011 at 8:57 pm

  37. Graham says:

    As Satnavs are a passive device and only RECEIVE signals unlike a smart phone which uses AGPS between cell towers they may have a hard job doing that.

    Otherwise why would security companies sell car trackers which TRANSMIT a signal to say where they are. Seems logical to me.

    May 26th, 2011 at 9:00 pm

  38. bern says:

    The police are public servants paid by us tax payers. Its time they are made to realise this. Admittedly some of us citizens mount these devices in some rather stupid places. But if the police are doing their chartered role, they would stop any vehicle they though that had a bad set up, get the driver to change the setup of the device so it does not pose a safety vision issue and send them along. But they are quick to dish out a fine, because they belive that is the way to deal with “helping” their employer conform with their own safety. try doing that with your employer at work and see what happens. The police have lost sight of what their chartered role is in society. Lets face it, its all a revenue thing. Nothing to do with “safety” Safety is just the excuse to force you to part with your money. Don’t complain here, ring your local MP and local Opposition representative. They are theones who can do something about it and are also loath not to be seen to represent the public.

    May 26th, 2011 at 9:31 pm

  39. Larry says:

    I saw one to day that was in a very dangerous place creating a blind spot for the driver. It not only blocks out other cars and bikes but pedestrians as well.
    Common sense should be the norm and make sure they are placed not in the vision of the driver & not on top of air bags.
    It might be different on each vehicle as to the best placement and not in the drivers vision.

    May 26th, 2011 at 9:44 pm

  40. Ed says:

    I always use the GPS as a speedometer. It’s more accurate than radar especially if the receiver is locked onto more than 3 sat’s. Also, I always use the GPS located in the lower right hand corner of the windscreen and run the power cable across the dash under the speedo cluster between the dash and the steering col (mine is adjust for reach/rake hence has a space). I use Blu-Tac to secure the cable but don’t forget to take it off when you remove the GPS when parking otherwise it leaves a tell tale sign to thieves that there is a GPS in the car. Also, watch out for the cord fouling the shift lever if you have a manual tranny. IF you position the GPS in the middle of the windscreen it’s also easier for the police to spot than if it’s placed in the lower right corner of the windscreen.

    May 27th, 2011 at 8:05 am

  41. TR says:

    Just in the process of removing the following; Satnav, Rego Label, mobile phone antenna, CB antenna, Bullbar, rearvision mirror, citylink e-tag, P plate, council and uni parking permits, sunvisors, Racv sticker, free Macca’s drink sticker, Next service sticker. Oh and I forgot also my VicPol rememberance ribbon sticker.

    May 27th, 2011 at 10:24 am

  42. Gary says:

    Have you ever noticed where the eyes of Police are when driving down the local beach promenade in summer. On the road of course? How do we deal with this driver distraction best fine someone.

    May 27th, 2011 at 11:21 am

  43. Marty says:

    When it comes to motoring why is it that we always need a law to protect us from ourselves and others?

    Surely the use of common sense and education should take priority but it appears that punishment is seen to be the easier and more financially lucrative option for legislators and the police; to hell with the motorist as they are easiest of targets to collect revenue.

    Easy fix though; let’s ban the sale portable GPS devices, mobile phones, fluffy dice etc that are going to be used in vehicles, just as was done with radar detectors.

    Bring on the Nanny State!

    May 27th, 2011 at 11:34 am

  44. Richard says:

    I’ve changed my mind. The police action seemed to me to be over the top. Then today there was a guy next to me at the traffic lights that had a fairly large screen portable satnav stuck on the screen below the rear vision mirror and just towards him. He was short, so was almost up against the windscreen. The centre section of his screen would therefore have been totally oscured. Sure, you might call him a dickh…, sorry ‘Richard Cranium’ but he deserves to have been fined.

    May 27th, 2011 at 4:13 pm

  45. Peter says:

    Some people place their unit within 150mm of the field of view. You can’t repair a cracked windscreen if the crack is in this area. I can’t see the road when my passenger uses the sun visor and the rear view mirror obstructs my view too. To add another obstruction annoys me no end. My GPS is as low as possible on the screen in the car or on the dash in the truck. Book the drongos!

    May 27th, 2011 at 7:25 pm

  46. Richard (a different one) says:

    There are these wonderful things called maps that were invented many hundreds of years ago. When travelling on roads they are either road maps or street directories., depending on the sort of travelling you are doing. They give you a broad overview of where you are going, not just a couple of blocks.

    They are a damned fine way of navigating that do not cause any distraction at all, provided you stop when you want to read them.

    May 27th, 2011 at 9:07 pm

  47. Brian says:

    Don’t forget some A pillars have air bags and if deployed may propel your gps towards you.

    May 27th, 2011 at 9:39 pm

  48. Ken says:

    I use a satnav from time to time. The lower right side of the screen works for me. The power cord runs up from the console then behind the steering wheel. If anyone is dumb enough to run the cord in front of the wheel, then maybe a smack in the head from it if the airbag is deployed in a crash will knock some sense into that person.
    As far as the cops fining drivers for obstructing their view with a satnav, (or any other stupid toy) please remember, police see the results of stupid things that drivers do every day in their job. Some of those things would give a lot of people nightmares for quite some time. My advice for what it’s worth, is that nothing at all be placed in the drivers line of vision.

    May 28th, 2011 at 3:40 pm

  49. chrissy says:

    yes, many ppl do do stupid things while they are driving but it should not be up to the cops to police that. what happened to responsibility?

    i feel that the real outrage regarding this new law is not anything to do with the law itself, rather, it is all to do with the fact that it is another new law. australia (read qld) is one of the most regulated places i have ever been. every time i turn around there is another new law in place. surely this is more to do with revenue than safety? i read a comment regarding this and could not agree more. if policing was really about safety ppl would be helped, instructed and assisted not fined.

    the double standards regarding police behaviour is unbelievable not only in regards to what they can mount on their dash but also what they are allowed to do and are exempted from doing. i.e. police are exempt from doing the roadside drug test as they are not emotionally stable enough. these ppl carry firearms and tasers. love it.

    so as a community, what are we going to do about this? well, nothing really. we’ll bitch and whinge about how were not allowed to put our sat-nav in stupid places and we must wear seatbelts. if we were really going to do anything about all this so called injustice we would already have done it and avoided becoming a nanny state in the first place.

    May 31st, 2011 at 8:52 am

  50. Laura says:

    I hope that you don’t actually mean that – you’ve said you lift your seat and angle the visor so that you can hardly see out of the window!?!?! That’s craziness!!!

    June 2nd, 2011 at 8:39 pm