Ask a Trooper by Sgt. Jesse Grabow – February 14, 2018

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: There is no state law that prohibits how loud music can be inside of a vehicle, but it could be a violation of a city or county ordinance.

Regarding the hoodie that is potentially blocking their vision, there is no law that directly covers this as well. There are laws that cover suspended objects from the rearview mirror and cracked or tinted windshields as they are considered vision obstructions.

It is very important for the driver to be aware and alert to everything that is going on around them. Listening to very loud music while driving can block out an emergency vehicle’s siren or another vehicle’s horn, and it could cause a crash or reduce the response time for an emergency vehicle. Emergency vehicles are equipped with lights and sirens to warn others when responding to an emergency. Being able to hear a siren and see emergency lights will enable the driver to safety pull over and yield for approaching emergency vehicles and help reduce your chances of being involved in a crash.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us).

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