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Ask a Trooper: Concerns about mounting warning light to plow snow

Question: What is the law about mounting a flashing warning light on my pickup that I use to plow snow? I need to plow well beyond the end of our driveway, as the plows can make quite a ridge of snow when they go by, and a warning light would get...

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What is the law about mounting a flashing warning light on my pickup that I use to plow snow? I need to plow well beyond the end of our driveway, as the plows can make quite a ridge of snow when they go by, and a warning light would get other drivers' attention when I am plowing in the dark. BrainerdDispatch.com Illustration

Question: What is the law about mounting a flashing warning light on my pickup that I use to plow snow? I need to plow well beyond the end of our driveway, as the plows can make quite a ridge of snow when they go by, and a warning light would get other drivers' attention when I am plowing in the dark.

Answer: Under Minnesota State Statute (M.S.S.) 169.64, "Any service vehicle may be equipped with a flashing amber lamp of a type approved by the commissioner of public safety.

"A service vehicle shall not display the lighted lamp when traveling upon the highway or at any other time except at the scene of a disabled vehicle or while engaged in snow removal or road maintenance."

Remember that other traffic on the main roadway will have the right of way, so be sure to pay attention and use due care.

Also, according to M.S.S. 160.2715, "it shall be unlawful to obstruct any highway or deposit snow or ice thereon." This prohibits the plowing, blowing, shoveling or otherwise placing of snow on to public roads.

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This includes the ditch and right of way area along the roads.

Violations are considered misdemeanors, but civil penalties also apply if the placement of snow creates a hazard, such as a slippery area, frozen rut or bump, that contributes to a motor vehicle or pedestrian crash. The civil liability can extend to both the property owner and the person who placed the snow.

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, 1131 Mesaba Ave., Duluth, MN 55811; on Twitter @MSPPIO_NE or by email at neil.dickenson@state.mn.us .

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