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“ASK A TROOPER”

by Sgt. Troy Christianson of the Minnesota State Patrol 

Question: Last summer at a stoplight, my car was vibrating from the bass boom of the car next to me. I looked over and saw, what I assume was a person driving -- but could see only the outline of his pulled up hoodie. As we drove away, I thought there is no way he is going to be able to hear or see an ambulance or fire truck coming into the intersection on an emergency. While we know driving with extremely loud music and having a driver’s peripheral vision blocked isn’t wise -- is it illegal and is it enforced?

Answer: Minnesota does not have a state law prohibiting loud music inside a vehicle, but the volume could be a violation of a city or county ordinance.

It is important for the driver to be alert and aware of everything that is going on around them.  Listening to very loud music while driving may block out an emergency vehicle’s siren or another vehicle’s horn, possibly causing a crash or reducing the response time for an emergency vehicle.  Emergency vehicles are equipped with lights and sirens in an effort to warn others when responding to an emergency.  The ability to hear a siren and see emergency lights will enable the driver to safety pull over and yield for approaching emergency vehicles.

Although there is not a law that specifically addresses a hoodie potentially blocking a driver’s vision, there are laws that cover suspended objects from the rearview mirror and cracked or tinted windshields as they are considered vision obstructions.

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, Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us)