In wake of Wright shooting, invention aims to ‘eliminate’ future rearview mirror stops
April 11, 2021
by Andrew Ramos
CLIFTON, N.J. — During a press conference this week, the mother of Daunte Wright explained why her 20-year-old son was stopped by police.
“I said, ‘why did you get pulled over?’ and he said ‘because I had air fresheners hanging in the rearview mirror,’” Katie Wright recalled.
That traffic stop would result in his death.
While it remains unclear what role air fresheners did play in the fatal incident, it’s now putting a spotlight on a little-known law that exists in many states across the country including New York and New Jersey.
The law prohibits drivers from hanging items from their vehicle’s rearview mirror as it could obstruct the view.
It’s when it’s enforced that’s sparking the controversy.
“The question that is being raised by the ACLU, is it being used as a pretext to pull over young African American drivers and then find something else wrong? Which is exactly what happened here,” New York-based trial lawyer Richard Roth said.
Meanwhile, John Fuller isn’t waiting for the next tragedy. It’s why he created a solution to the problem.
The prison consultant who works with clients getting ready to serve time, collaborated with a business partner to develop E-Z Breeze, a sleek compartment that attaches to the plate of the rearview mirror to hold an air freshener as well as an E-Z Pass tag.
“It was to eliminate these very situations that give probable cause to a police officer for pulling someone over for obstructed view,” Fuller explained.
Inspired by an obstructed view violation he received, E-Z Breeze took 2 years to develop.
With a patent now on hand, Fuller hopes to lock in a licensing deal to get the product in cars across the country.
“Only the officers know whether or not it was because of an air freshener on the cause of pulling this individual over,” he said. “It’s something that needs to be rectified and hopefully this is something in the right direction.”