Ask A Trooper: Flashing break lights not legal

Published 9:48 pm Friday, September 23, 2022

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By Sgt. Troy Christianson

Question: I have noticed cars that have a high-mounted center brake light that flashes about four 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: 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.

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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.

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. 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,