Ask a Trooper: What are the common equipment violations?

Published 8:13 am Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Question: What are the most common vehicle equipment violations you see?

Answer: I have witnessed and investigated numerous equipment violations over the course of my career as a Minnesota State Trooper.

The most common violations I have seen are: 

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• Window tint violations: Law prohibits tint on the front windshield. Passenger cars are limited to 50 percent on all side and rear windows. Pickups, vans, and SUV’s are limited to 50 percent on the front side windows. Pickups, vans, and SUV’s are not limited on the rear side and rear windows.

• Headlight/taillights out: All motor vehicles, other than a motorcycle, must be equipped with at least two headlamps and two tail lamps.

• Cracked taillight lens/displaying white light to the rear: Vehicles must display red lights visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear.

• Suspended objects from the rearview mirror: Objects suspended between the driver and the windshield are prohibited. This includes parking and handicap permits. Be sure to take them down when the vehicle is in motion.

• Cracked windshield: A windshield that is cracked or discolored that limits or obstructs proper vision.

• Bumper height violations: Bumpers shall not exceed a height of 20 inches on any passenger automobile, station wagon, or 25 inches on any four-wheel drive multipurpose type vehicle.

• Loud exhaust: Every motor vehicle must be equipped with a muffler in good working condition. It must blend the exhaust noise into the overall noise of the vehicle. No person shall use a muffler cutout. The exhaust system shall not emit or produce a sharp popping or crackling sound.

• License plate lights out/plates unreadable: A white light is required for the rear license plate to be legible from a distance of 50 feet to the rear.

• Unsecured load: Driver must secure their load to prevent any leaking, blowing, shifting or dropping.

• No seat belt use: Minnesota law states that drivers and passengers in all seating positions must be buckled up or seated in the correct child restraint. Officers will stop and ticket unbelted drivers or passengers. Seat belts must be worn correctly — low and snug across the hips, and shoulder straps should never be tucked under an arm or behind the back

• No headlight/use in reduced visibility:  Headlights must be on from sunset to sunrise when it is raining, snowing, sleeting or hailing; or when visibility is impaired by weather, smoke, fog or  conditions that obstruct visibility.

Other common violations include speeding, no proof of insurance, expired registration, only displaying one Minnesota license plate, distracted driving, expired driver’s license, driving without a  driver’s license and crossing over the center or fog lines.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848. (Or reach him at,