Ask a trooper: Items extending beyond vehicle may require flag, lightE-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 duluthnews tribune.com.
Q: If I am transporting an item that is sticking out beyond the back of my pickup box, how long can it be before I have to mark it with a flag?
A: According to Minnesota State Statute (M.S.S.) 169.52: “When the load upon any vehicle extends to the rear four feet or more beyond the bed or body of such vehicle there shall be displayed at the extreme rear end of the load, at the times when lighted lamps on vehicles are required in this chapter, a red light or lantern plainly visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the sides and rear. The light or lantern required under this section shall be in addition to the rear light required upon every vehicle. At any time when no lights are required there shall be displayed at the extreme rear end of such load a red, yellow or orange flag or cloth not less than 16 inches square.”
I’d also like to mention for anything in reference to sticking over the sides of the vehicle according to M.S.S. 169.80 Subd. 3, “No passenger-type vehicle shall be operated on any highway with any load carried thereon extending beyond the line of the fenders on the left side of such vehicle nor extending more than six inches beyond the line of the fenders on the right side thereof.”
Remember, no vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless such vehicle’s load is secure. All portions of the law were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes.
Q: Thank you for your articles! I see a lot of pick-up trucks that have dogs walking loose and riding in the box. Isn’t that against the law?
A: Generally no, it is not against the law for dogs (or any animals, or humans for that matter), to ride in the back of a pick-up truck while driving down the road. Some larger cities may have municipal ordinances, but no state laws exist specifically for that. If someone is a licensed dog breeder/kennel operator, then they have rules requiring the proper transportation of animals. Those requirements are inclusive of the animal being inside a kennel-type device, which has to be restrained to the vehicle.
A bigger concern is animals (especially larger ones) that are riding or being transported in the passenger compartment of a vehicle. They may interfere with the safe operation of the vehicle and could injure the driver or passengers if involved in a crash. The animals themselves, of course, also could be injured.
While it’s not against the law, it is very unsafe to have people riding in the back of a pick-up truck and it is not recommended. Always buckle up: drivers and all passengers, including in the back seat. Secure all people, pets and objects in the occupant compartment of all motor vehicles before driving down the road.
Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is a regional public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol.