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Ask a Trooper: Pushing snow onto the road illegal in Minnesota

Questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota may be sent to Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow at 1000 Highway 10 W., Detroit Lakes, MN 56560. You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or email him at jesse.grabow@state.mn.us

Close-up of Minnesota State Patrol trooper's squad vehicle
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Question: What is the law in regards to pushing snow from one's driveway out onto the road?

Answer: It is illegal to place snow from a driveway on or next to a public highway or street. The Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds everyone, “The placing of snow on or near a public road creates hazards, including drainage problems, drifting, sight obstruction and unsafe access. Keep crosswalks, intersections, entrances and exits clean and unobstructed.”

Minnesota law and many local ordinances prohibit plowing, blowing, shoveling or otherwise placing snow on to public roads or sidewalks. This includes ditches and the right of way along roads.

Violations are considered misdemeanors, but civil penalties also apply if the placement of snow creates a hazard, such as a slippery area, frozen rut or bump, that contributes to a motor vehicle or pedestrian crash. The civil liability can extend to both the property owner and the person who placed the snow.

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Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow
Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow

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