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Ask A Trooper: Does license location in vehicle matter?

Question: I have a question about carrying a driver's license while operating a vehicle. It was passed on to me that in Minnesota one must have the driver's license in the front seat area or glove compartment. Having it in a purse or backpack in the backseat or trunk is not allowed. Is this correct information? If so, what is the reason?

Answer: Minnesota law states that a person shall have their license in immediate possession when operating a motor vehicle and show it when a law enforcement officer requests it. I believe being able to produce the driver's license while having contact with the law enforcement officer would still be sufficient.

Let's use a traffic stop for example, and your driver's license is in the trunk of the vehicle. As long as you are able to provide your driver's license, when asked, you would be in compliance with the law. The issue I see with getting your driver's license out of the trunk would be that you would need to exit your vehicle and this would increase your chances of being struck by an out of control passing vehicle, especially when road conditions are poor.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Neil Dickenson — Minnesota State Patrol at 1131 Mesaba Ave, Duluth, MN 55811. (You can follow me on Twitter @MSPPIO_NE or reach me at neil.dickenson@state.mn.us).

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