Ask the Traffic Sergeant

Traffic stop

Every day our officers and dispatchers receive questions on traffic laws. Here are answers to a few commonly asked questions regarding traffic.

Q: Do I need to signal when I’m turning out of a roundabout?

A: According to MN Statute 169.19, subd. 5, a vehicle that is exiting a roundabout is exempt from the law requiring that a turn signal be given continuously for 100 feet of travel before turning.

Q: If someone in front of me is waiting to turn left in the middle of a roadway, can I pass on the right if there is a solid white there?

A: MN Statute 169.18, Subd. 4. “In no event shall such movement (passing) be made by driving in a bicycle lane or onto the shoulder, whether paved or unpaved, or off the pavement or main-traveled portion of the roadway.”

Q: Is it okay to check my phone while I’m stopped at a stoplight?

A: It is illegal to read, compose or send texts and emails, and access the internet while your vehicle is in motion or part of traffic. This is true even when you’re stopped at a stoplight or stuck in traffic. The law does not apply to devices that are permanently affixed to the vehicle or global positioning or navigation systems. (MN Statute 169.475) You may use your phone to make a phone call however, if making the call causes you to drive in a distracted fashion, you could be cited for inattentive driving.

Q: If one of my passengers is not wearing a seat belt, who gets the ticket: me or the passenger?

A: Passengers over 15 years old can receive a citation for not wearing a seat belt. If the unbelted passenger is under 15, the citation goes to the driver. A seat belt violation can cost more than $100. (MN Statute 169.686)

Q: Can I get a citation for not scraping the frost from my windshield?

A: Yes, under MN Statute 169.71, it is illegal to drive with frost on the front windshield or front side windows if the frost prevents “proper vision.”