Ask a Trooper: Education can help change aggressive driving habitsE-mail email@example.com or mail your question to Duluth News Tribune, Attn: Ask the State Trooper, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802. You may remain anonymous if you choose. Read past columns at duluthnewstribune.com.
Q: Don’t you think there would be a lot fewer aggressive drivers if you enforced the law that slower traffic is to keep right?
A: Your question falsely assumes that we don’t enforce it now, but correctly labels the situation as aggressive. I am sure at least some officers around the state are enforcing it; I know I do. Aggressive drivers are aggressive by habit and personality, and for some of those drivers, all the enforcement in the world will not change them. I would go out on a limb to say that perhaps more enforcement might make a little difference, but we also need to educate, so I am hoping that your question and this answer will help at least a little bit. We all need to work together to help create a traffic safety culture in Minnesota and take personal responsibility for our own actions behind the wheel.
Q: Being a transplant like many Duluthians, I was very surprised to see how cars are allowed to park next to a curb so close to the intersection. With Duluth being exceptionally hilly, it makes it difficult to see oncoming traffic when a large or tall car is parked in those areas where it seems like you have to take a risk whenever crossing one uphill. Are there any rules or regulations in regards to this?
A: Common sense has to come into play sometime, but instead of going through different situations or scenarios, I will just tell you what our law says about parking in all kinds of situations:
According to M.S.S. 169.34 Subdivision 1(a) No person shall stop, stand, or park a vehicle, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a police officer or traffic-control device, in any of the following places: (1) on a sidewalk; (2) in front of a public or private driveway; (3) within an intersection; (4) within 10 feet of a fire hydrant; (5) on a crosswalk; (6) within 20 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection; (7) within 30 feet upon the approach to any flashing beacon, stop sign or traffic-control signal located at the side of a roadway; (8) between a safety zone and the adjacent curb or within 30 feet of points on the curb immediately opposite the ends of a safety zone, unless a different length is indicated by signs or markings; (9) within 50 feet of the nearest rail of a railroad crossing; (10) within 20 feet of the driveway entrance to any fire station and on the side of a street opposite the entrance to any fire station within 75 feet of said entrance when properly signposted; (11) alongside or opposite any street excavation or obstruction when such stopping, standing, or parking would obstruct traffic; (12) on the roadway side of any vehicle stopped or parked at the edge or curb of a street; (13) upon any bridge or other elevated structure upon a highway or within a highway tunnel, except as otherwise provided by ordinance; (14) at any place where official signs prohibit stopping.
I am sure that not everyone abides by all of these parking laws/rules but all drivers are encouraged to use careful consideration when parking their vehicle anywhere. As you can see, no, the parking of tall vehicles is not directly mentioned, but like you say, they can be a hazard.
Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is a regional public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol.