VERIFY: Does MN law protect motorists from unsecured loads?

A viewer wanted KARE 11 to VERIFY whether Minnesota has a law to protect motorists from rocks or other debris that flies off the back of a truck.

Here's a situation that's caused many drivers to grind their teeth at one time or another.

You're driving along, minding your own business, when a rock or some other debris flies out of a dump truck or another vehicle transporting an 'uncovered' load and hits your windshield.

A KARE 11 viewer contacted us and shared that it's happened to her several times, and she asked us to VERIFY if Minnesota has a law to protect her and other motorists. "Isn't it a law the dump trucks are to have a tarp or net across the cargo area to prevent debris from flying out?," wrote Angela Nixon, "And what can one do short of calling 911? "

We logged on to the State of Minnesota's Officer of the Revisor of Statutes website, and were able to VERIFY that there is indeed a state law that mandates loads be secured so they don't endanger other motorists. It reads, in part, "No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless... the load is securely covered as to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking, blowing, or otherwise escaping therefrom."

Like most laws, there are exceptions, like sanding trucks in the winter and vehicles driven by a farmer transporting produce such as small grains, shelled corn and soybeans... as long as those items are not likely to cause any damage to nearby vehicles or property.

Now to the question of what the driver should do should their windshield or another part off the vehicle be struck and damaged by an unsecured load. We VERIFIED the best course of action by consulting with Lt. Tiffani Nielson at the Minnesota State Patrol.

Lt. Nielson told us you should indeed call 9-1-1, but there's one very important thing you need... and that's a license plate number. It makes it a lot easier for troopers to investigate. Nielson said a smart phone picture of the plate taken by a passenger is a good option. 

SOURCES:

1. The Office of the Revisor of Statutes

2. Lieutenant Tiffani Nielson - MN State Patrol 

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© 2017 KARE-TV


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