Many drivers become concerned about missing or broken rearview mirrors due to accidents or simple wear and tear. But is it illegal to drive without a rearview mirror?
Driving with a missing or broken mirror is generally not illegal as long as the other mirrors are intact and functioning. If at least 2 of the 3 mirrors are in good condition, the driver is not breaking any laws. However, laws and regulations on mirrors while driving may vary depending on the state or country where you are driving.
This article will discuss the mirror laws and regulations while driving in the United States. It will provide a state-by-state overview of requirements for rearview mirrors, side mirrors, and other mirrors on vehicles alongside FMVSS regulations.
Is It Illegal To Drive Without A Rear View Mirror?
According to common unanimity, it is not considered illegal to drive a car if one of the mirrors is missing or broken. However, the condition is the other mirrors have to be intact and functional.
In most cars, there are three mirrors available for drivers to use:
- Two side mirrors
- One rearview mirror
If at least two of these mirrors are in good condition, then the driver is not breaking any laws.
However, it is worth noting that the laws regarding mirrors may vary depending on the state or country in which you are driving in.
For instance, a left-side mirror in some states in the United States must be complemented by either a right-side mirror or a center mirror. In these states, it is still permitted to drive without a rearview mirror, provided the driver has an operating left-side mirror.
It is important for drivers to make sure that their mirrors are in good working condition before driving. That’s because mirrors can be a crucial tool for avoiding accidents and staying safe on the road. Drivers should also be aware of any laws or regulations in their area regarding the use of mirrors while driving.
Mirror Laws in the United States
Side and rearview mirror laws vary from state to state in the US. It’s crucial for drivers to know the specific requirements of their state.
If a state requires one or two side-view mirrors, and one of them is broken, the driver is at risk of being pulled over. He might receive a ticket for noncompliance with the law.
Moreover, there are federal regulations that have to be followed to avoid problematic scenarios.
Federal Laws on Mirrors
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 111 is a regulation. It requires each latest passenger car to be equipped with an inside rearview mirror that meets certain field-of-view requirements.
The purpose of this regulation is to improve the safety of passengers. It’s done by ensuring that drivers have an unobstructed view of the area behind their vehicles.
The inside rearview mirror allows drivers to see the area directly behind the car. It also provides a wider field of view than they would have without the mirror.
Besides this, most manufacturers add an outside rearview mirror to the passenger side voluntarily. This mirror provides additional visibility and helps drivers see areas that are not visible in the inside rearview mirror.
By providing a wider field of view, this mirror helps drivers stay aware of their surroundings and make safer driving decisions.
FMVSS No. 111 establishes certain requirements for rearview mirrors of motor vehicles for rear viewing. This includes requirements for
- The size and shape of the mirrors
- The distance between the driver’s eyes and the mirror
The regulation also establishes requirements for the mounting of the mirrors. This ensures that they are securely attached to the vehicle and positioned in a way that provides the best possible field of view.
However, there are state-specific laws that mandate the usage of specific types of mirrors.
States Requiring Both Side Mirrors on Vehicles
There are certain states that mandate all vehicles to be equipped with two-side mirrors. These states comprise:
- New Jersey
- New York
States Requiring Side Mirrors on Heavy Vehicles
Certain states have laws that require vehicles with structural designs that make it difficult to use the rearview mirror to have two side mirrors. These types of vehicles typically include buses and trucks that tow. The states include:
- North Carolina
States Requiring No Less Than One Mirror
The rearview mirror or one of the side mirrors must be in good condition to drive in some states. These states are:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
States Requiring No Less Than Two Mirrors
In some states, all vehicles must have at least two mirrors installed: either two side mirrors or one side mirror and a rearview mirror. These states include:
States Mandating a Rearview Mirror for Every Vehicle
In certain states, it is mandatory to have a rearview mirror installed in every vehicle, along with either one or both of the side view mirrors. These states are:
- North Carolina
- South Dakota
- New Jersey
- New York
Consequences of Driving Without A Rearview Mirror
Driving without a functioning rearview mirror can result in being stopped by law enforcement and receiving a ticket and a fine. However, in some cases where the issue is a shattered side mirror, some states have a provision for “Fix-It” tickets.
These tickets give the driver an opportunity to have the fine waived or decreased if they can demonstrate that the problem has been rectified.
Drivers must be aware of the laws and regulations regarding mirrors while driving in their state or country. As long as other mirrors are intact, driving with a missing or broken mirror is generally not illegal. However, there are specific requirements that must be met.
Federal laws, such as FMVSS No. 111, establish certain requirements for rearview mirrors of motor vehicles for rear viewing. Overall, maintaining the good working condition of mirrors can be crucial for avoiding accidents and staying safe on the road.