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Ask a trooper: Blue light restrictions apply only to vehicles

Q: Recently, I purchased a package of three small safety lights for my dog and myself: red, green and blue. A friend pointed out that blue is reserved for responder and maintenance vehicles. What is the law concerning lights on vehicles/ people/animals? Does it make a difference if they are flashing or on steady?

A: According to Minnesota State Statute 169.02, provisions of our traffic laws apply only to vehicles operated on roadways, highways and streets, and I don’t know of any specific laws pertaining to lights on pedestrians and/or animals, unless some cities have ordinances. However, if lights on a pedestrian or an animal are found to be distracting to motor vehicle traffic, then I suppose someone could be warned or even possibly charged with something (not sure what) related to that, similar to signs that are too bright and interfering with traffic. Having safety lights or not, I would still walk as far away from motor vehicle traffic as much as possible.

Q: If medical marijuana is passed in Minnesota, will vehicle accidents and fatalities increase? In states that have passed the hemp law, has there been an increase? Is my auto insurance likely to increase?

A: I will need to refer you to the Alcohol and Tobacco Prevention and Control, 85 E. Seventh Place, St. Paul, MN 55164, at (651) 201-3535 or health.state.mn.us/alcohol. They have research available pertaining to most of what you ask about and recently put out some good information about it. Your insurance company could probably answer the last part. Q: We live in rural Duluth (Lakewood Township). I prefer to shovel snow from the entrance to our driveway before the plow comes through. This helps prevent the plow from creating an even larger, more compact dumping when it does go through. I deposit it in the ditch across the road. It is not left in the path of any traffic, car or pedestrians. Is this OK to do? A: Technically, no, you cannot push or plow across a roadway. I spoke with road officials about this and they cite Minnesota State Statute 160.2715. The idea is that snow and ice ridges tend to get left behind on the road and create a hazard. My recommendation is to run it by your local road authority in charge of that roadway and see what they say. Better safe than sorry.

Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is a regional public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol.

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