Switching red to green is illegal
By SGT. ANDY SCHMIDT Minnesota State Patrol Question: A friend of mine brags about a device he bought that changes red lights to green for him. He says that most police cars have them and that the law says if it OK for the police it is OK for the...
By SGT. ANDY SCHMIDT
Minnesota State Patrol
Question: A friend of mine brags about a device he bought that changes red lights to green for him. He says that most police cars have them and that the law says if it OK for the police it is OK for the rest of us.
Can this be true? I am not a traffic expert but I see lots of problems here.
Answer: As of Aug. 1, 2005, Minnesota Statute 169.06 sb 5b state that "No person may operate a motor vehicle that contains a traffic signal-override device."
It also states that "no person may possess a traffic signal-override device." No, the statute does indicate that this does not apply to emergency vehicles, certain rail and rapid transit vehicles, signal maintenance vehicles of a road authority and those that have authorization from the commissioner of public safety.
Now it is quite clear that the use of such a device, by those allowed, is limited to required need in performance of our duty. It is not to be used just because someone does not like waiting for red lights.
No, for the belief of "if it's OK for" I will say this. I am aware of no such law in Minnesota. That appears to be a statement more about your friend's belief/opinion than about actual law.
As you know from the paragraph above your friend is in violation of the law unless he has the authorization of the commissioner. This is something I highly doubt and would require verification if I stop him.
Then there is always the question of liability if there is a crash. Ask your insurance agent if they will cover your liabilities if you use such a device. Travel seemed so much easier when drivers were courteous, considerate and showed more patience.
Today, so many appear to be egotistical, rude and obnoxious. And since not everybody is, I will remind you to be VERY careful out there.
Remember to wear your seat belt, drive sober and pay attention. Also, keep items away from those air bags to give them room to deploy.
If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws in Minnesota send them to Sgt. Andy Schmidt, Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, 56501, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .