Sgt. Neil Dickenson, Minnesota State Patrol
Q: My neighbor has cattle and horses, and I know they had gotten out of their fences and onto the road a few times. If they are struck by a vehicle, can he be cited or sued?
Q: My ex-husband was pulled a few months back and charged with a DWI. According to his report he paid just about $1,000 in fines prior to his court date. In court he was fined another $400 and that was it! He was not ordered to place the “whiskey plates” on his truck. He had a suspended license for a measly 30 days.
Q: The other night my coworker got pulled over and was given a warning about ride height. It was not slammed to the ground but the trooper said that it was illegal. What is the Minnesota state law for ride height? A: Typically we get questions about how high a vehicle can be and what is the maximum bumper height, but the law applies to both high and low profile vehicles.
Q: When troopers pull over a vehicle, why do they approach it on the traffic side rather than the passenger window? I have observed some other law enforcement agencies approach from the passenger side and thought it made sense from a safety perspective. A: Which side the officer approaches during a traffic stop comes down to personal preference. Officers are trained in both approaches, and they both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Q: I have a question about carrying a driver’s license while operating a vehicle. It was passed on to me that in Minnesota one must have the driver’s license in the front seat area or glove compartment. Having it in a purse or backpack in the backseat or trunk is not allowed. Is this correct information? If so, what is the reason?
Q: Can a state trooper write a traffic ticket for an infraction that they did not witness? A: A peace officer may arrest or issue a citation for a traffic violation and a number of other misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor offenses even though the officer didn’t see it. The traffic infractions include:
Q: Can a person park their camper/RV in the ditch of a highway? What about staying in a RV at a Minnesota rest area? A: Leaving or parking a camper or travel trailer in the ditch or on any highway right-of-way is illegal. A highway right-of-way typically extends near the top of the outside slope. It would only be allowed where signs designate it as a campsite.
Q: How effective are the statewide extra enforcement projects that are announced from law enforcement? A: These campaigns are very effective in reducing the total number of crashes caused by speeding, driving under the influence, distracted driving and occupants not wearing a seatbelt.
Q: When the speed limit is changing on a road, does the new speed limit start at the sign, or does it start when you can see the sign? A: The speed limit zone area becomes effective at the point you reach the sign. So if the speed limit sign/zone changes to a slower speed, slow down before the sign and not after. If the speed limit changes to a higher speed, wait until you get to the increased speed limit sign before increasing your speed.
Q: I noticed that the horn on my vehicle does not work. Is there a law that says a vehicle must have a working horn and when it can be used?