Code Of VA. - Windshield Question - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-01-2013, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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Code Of VA. - Windshield Question

For the folks in VA, has anyone driven on the street with their windshield down?

If so, any interaction with police? How did it go?

Here is why I ask... the Code of Virginia, specifically 46.2-1057, states that any vehicle made after July 1, 1970, must have a windshield. However, nowhere in the Code (46.2 or otherwise) was I able to find reference to a specific size, shape, degree of angle while the vehicle is in use, the manner as to which the windshield shall be used, etc. Since the windshield would be equipped as required by 46.2-1057 and it would be being used as designed by the manufacturer, I don't see any reason for me to believe its not legal to drive with the windshield down.

46.2-1057. Windshields.
It shall be unlawful for any person to drive on a highway in the Commonwealth any motor vehicle or reconstructed motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, registered in the Commonwealth, which was manufactured, assembled or reconstructed after July 1, 1970, unless the motor vehicle is equipped with a windshield.

I sent an email to the VASP, but don't know if I will be able to trust the response I get back. I can't tell you how many police officers and Troopers I know or have met that don't know or understand all of the laws. Honestly, I don't blame them either. The code is always changing and the printed code is huge. I don't expect anyone to remember all of that stuff. It would be unreasonable in my humble opinion. That said... I really don't feel like having a trial against the state to prove a point either.

I have not been able to find any case law about it. I was hoping someone around here already laid the groundwork.

Any real-world feedback would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Spaz
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-01-2013, 09:25 PM
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My question would be why would you want to. Take a look at the number of Jeeps with cracked / chipped windshields. I had mine less than 6 months before I was at the shop getting a small crack repaired, and the windshields of my previous two Jeeps were peppered with tiny chips. With the windshield down, there is nothing to protect you from a rock kicked up or debris dropped from a vehicle ahead of you. Some would say that it is no worse than riding a motorcycle, but I've done that as well, and due to past experience, wouldn't ride without a full face helmet, in part for the reasons stated above.

I'm not from VA, but based on my experience, I would say chances are, if the law is written exactly as you have stated, you probably would not receive a citation even if you were stopped. My argument would be that even though the vehicle is still equipped with a windshield, it is not being used as intended by the manufacturer. I believe if you check the owner's manual, it specifically says that the windshield should be lowered for off road use only. Kind of like having headlights installed, but not having them wired up. If you windshield is folded down, then it really isn't a windshield anymore by definition, it's just a piece of glass laying on your hood.
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post #3 of 12 Old 12-01-2013, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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I would like to have the option to ride with the windshield down as long as it doesn't break the law.

Truth is, the biggest thing would be the short stent from one off-road trail system to another. Where I go trail riding out in the GW National Forest, I regularly need to go from trail to trail by driving on route 33 and other public roads. Sometimes for 8-10 minutes at a time. I think it would be a PITA to stop, bolt the windshield up, then start rolling again.

What you brought up about the manufacturers recommendations, got me to look into that. The manual's recommendation is to only use it folded down while off-road and limit speed to 10 MPH...

Last edited by marcspaz; 12-01-2013 at 11:17 PM.
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-01-2013, 11:17 PM
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Seeing where you go wheeling, I really doubt anyone will give you shit for your windshield down.


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post #5 of 12 Old 12-01-2013, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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I was kinda thinking the same thing. May just roll the dice and pay the fine if I get caught.
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-02-2013, 02:29 AM
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FWIW...
A friend of mine in VA argued this in court over a motorcycle windshield. At the time, nothing in the law said it had to provide eye protection, just that one had to be there if you were not wearing eye protection. He was not wearing eye protection and the windshield did not come high enough to provide any.

I would think if you were wearing eye protection they might look the other way. AND, technically, it is equipped with a windshield.

The judge allowed my friend's argument but commented that the fine was cheaper than the lawyer.
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-03-2013, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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I sent an email to the VASP. I received a friendly reply that pointed out the manufacturers restriction of 10 MPH. The reply also said (in different words) that driving with the windshield down would be violating the law.

There seems to be this phenomenon used by police, lawyers and judges revolving around the "intent" of a law rather than what it actually says. I can't wrap my head around it nor do I agree with this type of law enforcement. Laws should be a "say what you mean and mean what you say" standard.
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post #8 of 12 Old 12-03-2013, 11:14 AM
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I think dwtgolden put it best. If the windshield is down it is not for use on the road. Intent is always considered. Jeep intended for the windshield to protect you from shit hitting you in the head, neck, chest, etc. The law is intended for you to use the safety device(windshield) for it's intended purpose. People that try and pick apart a law because it doesn't "work" how they want it to may need to be reminded why the law was enacted "intent".

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post #9 of 12 Old 12-03-2013, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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I am not trying to pick apart the law, per se... this piece of code is ambiguous and I wanted clarification. Especially since automobiles built prior to 1970 and motorcycles don't require them at all. I can drive a 67' Vette with no windshield when it was intended to have fixed glass, but I can't fold down my windshield on my 2014 Jeep, which was designed for just that? It seems that there are some contradictions in the code.

Keep in mind, the state and federal Constitution's and laws are not intended to control or limit the people; they are intended to limit the power of government. People are inherently free to choose and exercise free will. If I choose to take an action that others would recommend I not... that would be my prerogative. So, again, just trying to see if I could legally exercise that prerogative.

Maybe I should buy a 67 CJ5... then it won't matter. LOL
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post #10 of 12 Old 12-03-2013, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcspaz View Post
I would like to have the option to ride with the windshield down as long as it doesn't break the law.

Truth is, the biggest thing would be the short stent from one off-road trail system to another. Where I go trail riding out in the GW National Forest, I regularly need to go from trail to trail by driving on route 33 and other public roads. Sometimes for 8-10 minutes at a time. I think it would be a PITA to stop, bolt the windshield up, then start rolling again.

What you brought up about the manufacturers recommendations, got me to look into that. The manual's recommendation is to only use it folded down while off-road and limit speed to 10 MPH...
What is off of 33 other than Flag Pole?.... And how do you get there?

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post #11 of 12 Old 12-03-2013, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcspaz View Post
I sent an email to the VASP. I received a friendly reply that pointed out the manufacturers restriction of 10 MPH. The reply also said (in different words) that driving with the windshield down would be violating the law.

There seems to be this phenomenon used by police, lawyers and judges revolving around the "intent" of a law rather than what it actually says. I can't wrap my head around it nor do I agree with this type of law enforcement. Laws should be a "say what you mean and mean what you say" standard.
"Intent of the law" is the purpose of the judiciary branch of government. The legislative branch creates the laws and the judiciary branch interprets them, or rather tries to decipher their intent. There's always someone looking for a work around such as having a vehicle equipped with a that does not serve as a windshield.

As far as the exclusion for vehicles built prior to a specific date, that is usually determined by the addition of a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for vehicles manufactured after that date. An example would be the required CHMSL (center high mount stop lamp) or 3rd brake light. A state law can't require vehicles produced prior to October 31, 1986 to have one since it was not federally required equipment when that vehicle was originally manufactured. Just like you can't get fined for not wearing your seat belt in a vehicle that was not originally manufactured with seat belts.

The constitution was meant to limit the control of government over the people. Laws are absolutely intended to control the actions of people. Theft is one of the oldest laws on the books and that has nothing to do with government control, it has to do with protection of citizens in their right to own property. Many motor vehicle laws are written to protect you from other drivers, and in this case, you against yourself.
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post #12 of 12 Old 12-03-2013, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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@ dwtgolden

Thanks for the input. I appreciate it and agree with 99% of what you said. We need law to maintain order and peace.

Even though I may not agree with a law (or interpretation thereof) I still plan on honoring it and its accepted interpretations until it's changed... if ever. Can't blame a guy for trying to get clarification.

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What is off of 33 other than Flag Pole?.... And how do you get there?
There are trails in the park all over the place. I bought a Delorme Virginia Atlas & Gazetteer and just headed out there.

Be careful if you go out there. There is a water right-of-way for drinking water that some of the trails cross. The park service and the county shut down some of the trails where they cross the water due to pollution going up. As tempting as the tank traps look, I would skip those for now.

Also, stay on the trails listed on the maps as public/fire/logging roads. There are lots of trails that cross private property. Without the land owner's permission, you would be trespassing.

Anyway, there are still lots of trails that are equal to level 3 trails in a groomed park. For a stock or lightly modded JK, there is lots of fun to be had.

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Last edited by marcspaz; 12-04-2013 at 12:51 AM.
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