Ask A Trooper
Sgt. Jesse Grabow
Question 1: I have noticed cars that have a high-mounted center brake light that flashes about 4 times before becoming steadily lit (like other brake lights). I’m seeing car dealers are installing them on some cars. Are these flashing lights legal?
Answer 1: These types of devices and alterations to the brake lights are not legal according to state and federal law. An auto dealer would also be in violation if they installed that type of light on a motor vehicle.
Not only are flashing red lights illegal but so are modifications to the rear taillights and brake lights. I’ve come across several taillights and brake lights that have been covered or tinted. Altering or obscuring any portion of the lamp affects the intensity of light emitted. This could be an issue in a motor vehicle crash both criminally and civilly.
Question 2: I have recently noticed several semi-trucks with lug nuts on their front tires that are pointed and stick out beyond the edge of the cab. I’m concerned that they could cause damage to other vehicles. Is there a law about this?
Answer 2: I believe you are referring to the lug nut covers. They are only a decoration and have no function of holding the rim onto the front assembly of the semi. There are no state or federal laws that prevent anyone from putting these over their lug nuts. The only law that may pertain to the pointed lug nuts would be in regards to the overall width of the vehicle. No vehicle or commercial vehicle can exceed 8 feet 6 inches wide on the roadway.
Commercial vehicle drivers are required to check the tightness of the lug nuts and other equipment when they perform their daily walk around check on the semi. If a semi is missing a certain amount of lug nuts this would put their vehicle out of service until they were replaced.
You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths.
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 Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, email@example.com).