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Ask a Trooper: Are flashing brake lights legal?

The asker noticed brake lights that flash about 4 times before becoming steadily lit.

Minnesota State Patrol courtesy photo
Minnesota State Patrol courtesy photo
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Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol
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DETROIT LAKES — Question: I have noticed cars that have a high-mounted center brake light that flashes about 4 times before becoming steadily lit (like other brake lights). I’m seeing car dealers are installing them on some cars. Are these flashing lights legal?

Answer: These types of devices and alterations to the brake lights are not legal according to state and federal law. An auto dealer would also be in violation if they installed that type of light on a motor vehicle.

Not only are flashing red lights illegal but so are modifications to the rear taillights and brake lights. I’ve come across several taillights and brake lights that have been covered or tinted. Altering or obscuring any portion of the lamp affects the intensity of light emitted. This could be an issue in a motor vehicle crash both criminally and civilly.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trooper Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us ).

Read up on other Ask a Trooper Q and As.
Sgt. Jesse Grabow shared tips and information for Minnesota drivers to stay safe during the winter.

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