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What are the most common vehicle equipment violations?

Question: What are the most common vehicle equipment violations you see?

Answer: In my career as a Minnesota State Trooper, I have witnessed and investigated all kinds of common equipment violations.

The most common violations I have seen are:

• Window tint violations: No vehicle can have any tint to the front windshield. Passenger cars are limited to 50 percent on all side and rear windows. Pickups, vans and SUV's are limited to 50 percent on the front side windows. Pickups, vans and SUV's are not limited on the rear side and rear windows.

• Headlight/taillights out: Every motor vehicle other than a motorcycle must be equipped with at least two headlamps and two tail lamps.

• Cracked taillight lens/displaying white light to the rear: Vehicles must display red lights visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear.

• Suspended objects from the rearview mirror: Any objects suspended between the driver and the windshield are prohibited. This includes parking and handicap permits. Be sure to take them down when the vehicle is in motion and place it back up when parked.

• Cracked windshield: A windshield cracked or discolored to an extent to limit or obstruct proper vision.

• Bumper height violations: Bumpers shall not exceed a height of 20 inches on any passenger automobile, station wagon or 25 inches on any four-wheel drive multipurpose type vehicle.

• Loud exhaust: Every motor vehicle shall at all times be equipped with a muffler in good working order which blends the exhaust noise into the overall vehicle noise and no person shall use a muffler cutout. The exhaust system shall not emit or produce a sharp popping or crackling sound.

• License plate lights out/plates unreadable: A white light is required for the rear-registration plate and render it legible from a distance of 50 feet to the rear.

• Unsecured load: When hauling a load, all driver must securely cover their haul to prevent any leaking, blowing, shifting or dropping. This includes ice/snow coming off a vehicle.

• No seatbelt use: Minnesota law states that drivers and passengers in all seating positions must be buckled up or seated in the correct child restraint. Officers will stop and ticket unbelted drivers or passengers. Seat belts must be worn correctly — low and snug across the hips, and shoulder straps should never be tucked under an arm or behind the back.

• No headlight/use in reduced visibility: Headlights must be on at any time from sunset to sunrise, when it is raining, snowing, sleeting or hailing; and at any other time when visibility is impaired by weather, smoke and fog or other conditions that inhibit clear visibility.

• Other common violations include speeding, no proof of insurance, expired registration, only displaying one Minnesota license plate, distracted driving, which included texting and driving, expired driver's license, driving without a driver's license and crossing over the center and fog lines.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Jesse Grabow — Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501. (You can follow me on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach me at jesse.grabow@state.mn.us).

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