I've recently been advised you shouldn't have a sat nav anywhere in the windscreen - is this right?
I thought using a portable sat nav was okay providing it was not in the driver's straight-ahead field-of-view and have been fixing it at the bottom of the windscreen (sucker on the screen) on the passenger side. I've recently been advised you shouldn't place it anywhere inside the windscreen. If this is now the case, why are they sold with windscreen suckers and where are 'suckers' like me to lawfully place them when driving?
This question opens a whole can of worms that's too big to really answer here, but we'll do our best. There are no specific rules for sat-nav and smartphone placement. Instead, drivers are under a general obligation to be in proper control of their vehicle, which includes having a clear view of the road. The law isn't very clear, so there's not really a 'right' place to mount a sat nav as such - however, motorists and police are expected to use their common sense when it comes to a device obstructing the driver's view of the road. In fact, the situation is such a grey area that Greater Manchester Police was heavily criticised after tweeting that “everywhere else is illegal” last year, despite the law making no mention of where to legally place a sat nav. They retracted the tweet after not too long.
The bottom right-hand corner is a sensible placement, but whether you'd be stopped would be entirely up to that particular police officer's interpretation of the law and whether your view was obstructed by the sat nav. If we're to think about legal placement in terms of what would pass or fail an MoT - splitting the windscreen into zones A and B - Zone A is said to be a 290mm wide strip above the centre of the steering wheel, up to the highest point the windscreen wipers reach, while zone B is the rest of the windscreen. Obstructions should not “encroach more than 10mm” within zone A or “encroach more than 40mm” in zone B. It may be impossible to fit a sat nav to the windscreen without breaking these rules because very few devices measure under 40mm across. However, MoT testing criteria also states that if an “obstruction does not impair the driver’s view of the road, the vehicle should pass. If it only affects the driver’s view of the sky or the bonnet then this is not to be considered a reason for rejection”. This suggests it may be allowed to position a device measuring more than 40mm/10mm in the windscreen if it's high enough or low enough to only obscure the dashboard or sky, without affecting your view of the road ahead.