Mille Lacs County Times

Posted: 4/5/07

Unlawful to hang items from rearview mirror


--Question: My co-worker got stopped by a police officer for having something hanging from the rear-view mirror. I told her that I think officers can't stop you for that. Is that really a law? My friend got a warning, but she was told she could get a ticket for it. Please tell me how we are suppose to know about all those kinds of laws?

--Answer: The officer was correct, and your friend is lucky she was not cited for that offense. It is very popular to hang items from the rear-view mirror but none are legal. The most common items we see unlawfully hanging from vehicles being driven down the road are handicap parking decal-permits, dice, chains, stuffed animals (small ones), and "dream-catchers". Minnesota law prohibits anything to be suspended between the driver and the windshield (other than rear-view mirrors, sun visors and electronic toll collection devices). Everything else is considered to be a view obstruction. We don't want any more crashes than we already have out there, so this is a good law.

I suppose not everyone knows all the laws on the books, (I know I don't). They keep changing, too. Officers should know more about the laws than the general public, and I think we do, but the public is expected to be responsible for their vehicle and their driving in any case. That's a good reason why I write this column too, to inform people.

Many people "get away" with certain violations by sheer luck, and whether or not the violations were intentional does not matter to the court. Ignorance is no excuse for violating the laws, in most cases (there are a few exceptions). Most county court buildings have a law library. Most cities have public libraries. Websites for the state show all new legislation. New laws affecting the common citizenry are publicized as much as possible. If you have any questions about specific activity involving motor vehicle traffic, contact your local police department, sheriff's office or State Patrol office, and ask for an officer. In every case, it is good to work to keep yourself informed.

If you have any questions for future columns concerning motor vehicle traffic in Minnesota, please send your questions to: "ASK A TROOPER" c/o Sgt. Curt S. Mowers MN State Patrol P.O. Box 644 Brainerd, MN 56401. Questions are edited.

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Mille Lacs County Times
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Milaca, MN 56353
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