Sgt. Neil Dickenson, Minnesota State Patrol
Q: What is the law regarding fastening bike carriers and other items to the back of a vehicle that block the ability to read the rear license plate? A: It is illegal if any part of the taillight or license plate is blocked by a bike, carrier or any other object.
Q: Can you please explain the new hands-free cellphone law? A: Under the law, you may not hold your phone in your hand and can’t use it at any time for video calling, video live-streaming, Snapchat, gaming, looking at video or photos stored on the phone, using non-navigation apps, reading texts and scrolling or typing on the phone.
Q: Why have they not passed a law regarding animals hanging out a driver’s side window, paws on the steering wheel and animals jumping from the front seat to the backseat? I see this so often and most of the time it is elderly people, which I am. Turning the radio on and off is one thing, but an animal moving all over the car or distracting the driver is absurd.
Q: Are drivers required to use turn signals when entering or exiting a roundabout? With a newly constructed roundabout very recently opened in town, I have not once observed a turn signal used. What is the law?
Q: I was wondering what to do at pedestrian flashing crosswalk lights. Am I to wait until the lights stop flashing and the crosswalk is clear of pedestrians, or can I go forward when it is safe to? A: Most pedestrian flashing lights are set up at a crosswalk. Reminder that if there is a pedestrian that is curbside and is waiting to cross in a crosswalk, motorists must yield the right of way and stop for them.
Q: Say I'm driving on a road and the light turns yellow, but as I brake, I begin sliding and the light goes red and I end up finally stopping in the intersection. Do I continue forward or should I reverse back? I understand it might be hard to decide depending on if there are vehicles in the other lane of the intersection that now have the green light.
Q : What is the State Patrol’s perspective on raising the speed limit on certain two lane roads from 55 mph to 60 mph? As a law enforcement agency, you’re concerned about speeders, so is this a potential safety issue?
Q: Who is responsible for making sure the roadway is cleaned up and free from spilled liquids, glass and other car parts from a crash? A: In my experience I have noticed that all responding agencies and tow companies work as a team to treat the injured, direct traffic, investigate the crash and clear the scene as soon as possible for everyone’s safety. This is especially important on roadways with higher speed limits.
Q: I have noticed cars that can't be seen in the day when they fail to turn on their lights when it is snowing, raining or foggy. Can you please explain how dangerous it can be and what the law is that covers this?
Q: What is the penalty for an expired health card while driving a commercial vehicle such as a tractor-trailer?