Passing an Emergency Vehicle

Many Minnesota drivers are unaware that it is illegal to pass a parked emergency vehicle with its lights on. Failure to abide by this law will result in fines. Ignorance of the law itself is not a defense.

Passing a Parked Emergency Vehicle in Minnesota

Minnesota law states that when approaching and before passing a parked emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated on a highway with two lanes in the same direction, the driver must safely move their vehicle to the lane farthest away from the emergency vehicle, if possible.

If on a street or highway with more than two lanes in the same direction, the driver of a vehicle is required to leave a full lane vacant between the driver and any lane in which the emergency vehicle is parked or stopped, if possible.

Minnesota Traffic Attorneys

A police officer may issue a citation to the driver of a motor vehicle if they have probable cause to believe that the driver illegally passed a parked emergency vehicle within the four-hour period following the incident. The citation may be issued even if the violation was not committed in the presence of the officer.

Probable cause is sufficient when the person cited is operating the vehicle described by a member of the crew of an authorized emergency vehicle responding to an incident in a timely report (within four hours of the incident). This report must include:

  • A description of the vehicle used to commit the offense
  • The vehicle’s license plate number

Police officers take passing a parked emergency vehicle as a very serious offense because it puts them at risk. As a result, they are often eager to cite a person with this offense regardless of the circumstances. A great Minnesota traffic attorney can make sure that police and prosecutors don’t take advantage of your rights during the legal process.