Sure, that air-freshening pine tree or scent bottle might help take out the lingering odors of your trip through the Taco Bell drive-thru, but that doesn't change one big drawback: it's illegal in Illinois.

No, not having an air-freshener in the car. That's entirely legal. It's when you hang it from the rearview mirror that you cross the line into lawlessness.

Getty Images
Getty Images

It's Not Just Air-Fresheners--Hanging Anything On Your Rearview Is Illegal

The tassel from the mortar board at your graduation, the dreamcatcher, the religious symbol, the garter you caught at a wedding, the lanyard from work, and even your COVID-19 mask fall under Illinois' restriction on hanging stuff from the rearview mirror.

It's not just Illinois, either. Beyond Illinois, this law is also on the books in at least 5 other states: Minnesota, California, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Texas. Like Illinois, these other state's laws are not about air fresheners. Drivers can be pulled over for literally anything hanging from the rearview mirror.

It should be noted that Illinois' law (and the laws of the previously mentioned states) also bans you from affixing anything to the interior windshield of your car. The laws were set up to lessen the chances of you having your vision of the roadway blocked by an object.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Illinois State Representative LaShawn Ford And Secretary Of State Candidate Alexi Giannoulias Want To Change The Law

Not because they're two dudes who really like the dreamcatchers they're sporting in their own cars, but because they believe that this law leads to people being pulled over, which may then escalate into a verbal or physical encounter with law enforcement.

Alexi Giannoulias:

Amending the current law will result in greater equity on the road and improve relationships between police and community by eliminating discriminatory traffic stops. Pulling someone over for merely having an air freshener attached to their rear view mirror is not only archaic, it’s ridiculous. Prohibiting traffic stops that encourage discriminatory practices will ultimately make our streets safer for drivers and police officers.

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