The Free Press, Mankato, MN

January 4, 2011

Ask a trooper: What are new traffic laws for 2011?

By Sgt. Jacalyn Sticha
Minnesota State Patrol

— Is there new legislation coming out that I should be aware of?

One new piece of legislation that you will find interesting is aimed at people who move into an intersection on a green or yellow light so they can get across even if the light turns red. These drivers often end up in the middle of the intersection blocking the cross traffic trying to proceed on their green. 

MSS169.15 Subdv. 2, (b) Intersection gridlock; stop or block traffic,. . .“a driver of a vehicle shall not enter an intersection controlled by a traffic-control signal until the driver is able to move the vehicle immediately , continuously, and completely through the intersection without impeding or blocking the subsequent movement of cross traffic.”   I am guessing there are a lot of nods of approval while reading this.

They are also getting tough with pedestrians around rail road crossings and tracks, backing it with a fine of up to $100.  MSS169.26 has been amended to read: Subdv.4. Pedestrians; Penalty. (a) “A pedestrian shall not pass through, around, over or under any crossing gate or barrier at a railroad grade crossing while the gate or barrier is closed or is being opened or closed. “  The following subdivision prohibits a pedestrian from being on the tracks or crossing them when an audible bell or any device that warns of a railroad train near, passing, departing or approaching.

Traveling on foot via tracks is extremely dangerous and even more so when you are listening to your MP3 player or have earpieces in. This is worth a quick mention at the dinner table, especially in smaller towns and to our youth.

A few months ago I wrote a column on motorcycles and the law allowing them to cross an unchanging traffic light and all the particulars. 

In the 2010 Legislative Session they added bicycles. This law allows a defense to a charge provided;  you came to a complete stop and the light shown red for an unreasonable time or the signal was apparently malfunctioning.  It must also be safe to proceed.

Again, for further information go to,