Using bumper stickers is quite common among drivers for different reasons. Some of which are to display their personality, ideas, and opinions for others to see.
However, using these stickers requires that owners follow specific rules to avoid legal sanction and harm.
To promote road safety during drives, we cover the rules guiding bumper stickers in this article.
Table of Contents
1. Avoid Vulgar or Offensive Bumper Stickers
While states in America allow the use of bumper stickers on cars, drivers must ensure the bumper stickers they employ do not portray vulgar or offensive language.
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This is because drivers employ vulgar and offensive stickers to offend, provoke or insult the subject of their message.
These subjects may include a particular
- Political views
- Sexuality, among others
- Hate speech
- Racist or sexist labels
- Sexual themes
- Words of violence or hatred toward a specific group or person
all denote inappropriate bumper stickers.
This is because these stickers can offend or injure other people, and they can also contribute to a toxic social atmosphere.
It is important for drivers to always treat others with respect and consideration and avoid using words or pictures that could damage or cause strife.
The punishment for vulgar or offensive bumper stickers depends on the laws of the state where the offense occurred.
In mild cases, however, it may warrant a fine for disorderly conduct. In more serious situations, it may warrant charges of hate speech or incitement of violence.
However, private companies or organizations may have their own rules regarding offensive bumper stickers.
Also, people who show them may suffer social or professional repercussions, including losing their jobs, being excluded from social clubs or organizations, or having their reputation tarnished.
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2. Avoid Stickers that can Obstruct the View during Drives
When installing bumper stickers, it is important to ensure the location of installation is safe. This includes the protection of the driver’s view and license plate when driving.
Drivers can ensure this by making sure the stickers are not obstructing any part of their view, whether through the front, side, or rear windows.
They should also ensure it does not obstruct the license plate.
Obstructive stickers that block the view of the driver can lead to safety issues where there are obstacles or other vehicles on the road.
It can also be difficult for law enforcement to see the license plate, which can be dangerous in certain cases or lead to a penalty.
Drivers can further ensure they don’t install these stickers and other items on certain areas of their cars that their states do not legally allow.
Such a state includes Georgia, which does not permit stickers on windshields. However, the state allows car owners to employ them if they are inspection stickers or stickers that the law requires.
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3. Avoid Political Endorsement Stickers During Elections.
Drivers can use bumper stickers with endorsements on their vehicles, so far they adhere to the rules guiding it based on their states. Depending on the state, there may also be different limitations on political bumper stickers.
This includes limitations depending on where and when drivers employ them.
For instance, some states’ laws forbid the use of bumper stickers to campaign on election day within a specific distance of a voting location.
Some states can limit the distance to 200 feet or more, while others can forbid campaigning within 100 feet of a polling site.
An example of a state with this law is New York, where people, including drivers, can’t put up any signs, banners, posters, or other forms of political advertising on Election Day within 100 feet of a polling location’s entrance.
There is also Texas, where the law forbids electioneering within 100 feet of the entrance to a polling location or a structure where voting is taking place.
This involves putting up banners, signs, or other forms of political advertising. Meanwhile, find out what fish bumper stickers mean.
4. Adhere to Copyright Laws
Some bumper stickers include copyright laws, where the law protects the image or phrase of the stickers.
Copyright laws prevent the unlawful use or reproduction of original creative works, such as artwork, photos, and written content.
We recommend confirming that drivers can use the photos or text they incorporate if they intend to make their own bumper stickers.
This may include asking the copyright owners for permission or verifying if the material is in the public domain or otherwise publicly accessible for usage.
However, where drivers are getting the bumper stickers from a third party, it is crucial to confirm that the vendor selling the stickers has the legal authorization to use the copyrighted materials on them.
Note that some vendors may rely on fair use or other exceptions to copyright law. We recommend it is crucial to respect others’ intellectual property rights, including when using bumper stickers on cars.
However, where there is a need for clarity, drivers can get legal counsel about whether they have permission to use the content in question. You should also know whether bumper stickers affect a car’s value.
5. Avoid False Statements
Drivers should refrain from using bumper stickers that include misleading information.
These include false claims about the vehicle’s performance where owners exaggerate the speed, gas mileage, or other features of the car.
False claims also include deceptive information about the driver’s credentials or affiliations. This includes claiming to be a part of a law enforcement agency or other groups when they are not.
This may also include political or social topics, where the sticker portrays false information about political candidates to promote them. They should also avoid the promotion of conspiracy theories.
False claims may also involve goods or services as well, where drivers portray goods or services that do not function as promised.
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6. Adhere to Your State Bumper Sticker Size Regulations
There are different size regulations for bumper stickers employability by drivers depending on each state.
However, there are no definite federal laws governing bumper sticker sizes. Since we’re talking of laws, you should know whether you can have bumper stickers on your car, based on your profession.
For the states with size regulations, there is California, where the sticker or other object cannot cover more than 7 inches of the lower center of the windshield or more than 5 inches of the top area of the glass on a car.
In Texas, bumper stickers in the back of the car cannot be bigger than 5 by 8 inches.
It is crucial to check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or local law enforcement agency for the particular requirements. However, these states may have comparable size restrictions to the ones we stated.
Where your state does not have specified size restrictions, we recommend drivers apply caution when applying bumper stickers to their cars.
This includes ensuring that the sticker doesn’t interfere with the driver’s vision or pose any other dangers when driving. You should also know the ways not to remove bumper stickers.
7. No distracting messages
When installing a bumper sticker on your car, it is crucial to avoid messages that can distract other road users on the road both audibly or visually.
This includes the display of too much information about a particular subject, as drivers interested in such topics may lose concentration while driving and trying to read the information on the sticker.
This also includes bumper stickers with controversial, biased viewpoints or potentially harmful statements that can steer up reactions in drivers and cause them to lose concentration.
Overall, we recommend drivers exercise caution when selecting a bumper sticker message and take other drivers’ perspectives into account.
A bumper sticker that has a straightforward, uplifting statement or image is frequently the best option.
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8. Avoid Defamatory Statements
Defamatory statements include assertions that are unattractive or negative about a group of people or a person. It includes false assertions against a person to harm their reputations.
Drivers should avoid these remarks when employing bumper stickers to avoid punishment from the law.
True or not, the subject of these attacks can sue the offender in court to pursue compensation from them. However, the truth always stands as a defense against defamation claims.
In most states, the legal landscape includes judge decisions defending Citizens’ First Amendment freedoms to express themselves using bumper stickers.
Owing to this, when criticizing establishments like auto dealerships, one should make sure his/her claims are accurate and not deceptive.
Deceptive allegations can warrant a legal lawsuit in a state court, with claims that the driver has violated the state’s slander or libel laws and damaged the reputation of such a person or company.
Defamation is not a crime in most places, but it is a civil wrong.
The lawsuit seeks to restore the reputation of the subject and to compensate them. However, the court will assess the damages that the defamation statement caused in relevance to its importance to the integrity of the subject.
This will determine the consequences of the action. In some states, using defamatory bumper stickers can warrant fines, or in the worst cases, even imprisonment.
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9. Avoid Sharing Personal Information
Sharing personal details on bumper stickers can be dangerous because it can reveal crucial details about the car owner or their family that they might not normally discuss with strangers.
The locations of your children’s schools and the size of your family can be available to criminals via bumper stickers.
This is the reason being safe while driving includes not sharing personal information with other strange drivers on the road through bumper stickers.
This can pose a danger where criminals get access to such information and employ it to carry out social crimes and assaults.
Owing to this, protecting your privacy also means you are ensuring your safety and that of your passengers.
We recommend drivers select stickers that don’t reveal the kinds of information that make crime against them or the community easier.
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