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Ask a Trooper: What are requirements for vehicle’s side mirrors?

Question: I am a paramedic, and we see an extreme amount of vehicles failing to move over for us when we are coming up behind them.

One big reason for them not seeing us, other than being inattentive, is because they are pulling a trailer and they don’t have the required mirrors to see around the trailer or load.

This is very dangerous for everyone and frustrating for us, so can you talk about vehicles having adequate and legal mirrors?

Answer: Law enforcement officers and other emergency service vehicle operators experience the exact same thing. You are correct that it is dangerous and it certainly is very frustrating as well.

M.S.S. 169.70 says in part, “.....Every motor vehicle shall be equipped with a mirror so located as to reflect to the drivers a view of the highway for a distance of at least 200 feet to the rear of such vehicle.”

So, we can plainly see that the side mirrors might be needed and should be out far enough to be able to see down the side of the trailer.  

Even though it could be arguable that the “200 foot” requirement may not be enough in some cases, it is still better than not having a mirror (that allows you to see around your load) at all.

I suppose there are people who are not aware of the law, but if I were driving a vehicle like that, it sure would be uncomfortable and maybe even a bit scary — not being able to see around the load/trailer.

Don’t forget, all drivers need to pay attention and watch for the flashing lights of emergency vehicles and road construction and maintenance vehicles, so you can slow down and move over as required by the Ted Foss Move Over law on multi-lane roads.

SGT. CURT S. MOWERS is with the Minnesota State Patrol.