California driver ticketed for SpaceX Starlink dish bolted to car’s hood

No, that wasn’t Elon Musk driving on a California highway. But one motorist ticketed by authorities on Friday had a satellite dish bolted to his car’s hood that looked like one of SpaceX’s Starlink antennas.

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The California Highway Patrol of Antelope Valley said in a Facebook post that the driver had the dish fastened to the hood of his red Toyota Prius.

“Sir, I stopped you today for that visual obstruction on your hood. Does it not block your view while driving?” the highway patrol wrote on Facebook.

According to the post, the motorist answered that he had an obstructed view “Only when I make right turns.”

The motorist told troopers that he used the antenna to get Wi-Fi service for a business that is operated out of the vehicle, CNBC reported.

Representatives for SpaceX did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

The highway patrol said it was illegal to mount a satellite dish on the hood of a vehicle, citing section 26708(a)(2) of the California Vehicle Code. Drivers are also prohibited from hanging items from a rearview mirror or mount a GPS or cellphone in an unapproved area of the vehicle’s windshield.

Starlink is SpaceX’s project that seeks to build an interconnected network with thousands of satellites that will deliver high-speed internet to consumers anywhere, CNBC reported.

The “Starlink Kit” has four major components: The user terminal, or antenna; a tripod mount; a Wi-Fi router; and a power supply, CNBC reported.

SpaceX first offered the service in October 2020, with a beta program costing $99 a month, the network reported. SpaceX also offers rooftop mounting options for an additional cost.

While the technology is new, the highway patrol urged motorists to adhere to old-fashioned driving etiquette.

“It’s about safety, folks,” the highway patrol wrote.


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