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Grass clippings on roadway creates hazard; fender flares must match tire width

Ask A Trooper
Lead Summary
Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota Highway Patrol

Question: This summer I sent you an email asking about the legality of individuals discharging grass clippings from lawn mowers onto public roads. They can be very slippery when wet and otherwise are a mess. I never heard back from you, nor did I see a response in my local paper. Please advise concerning the grass clippings on public roads.
Answer: Discharging grass clippings onto a highway is illegal. Most cities also have ordinance on this as well. The statue is 169.42 Sub 1, Objects on a highway, which is a misdemeanor offense.
Grass clippings blown into the roadway can create dangerous conditions for motorcyclists and bicyclists. Coming upon grass clippings without enough time to slow down, they can cause a loss of traction. Grass clippings are extremely slippery and if the clippings are wet, such after a light rain, the danger is even worse. 
Question: How far can tires stick out from fenders on road-worthy vehicles? My son put big fancy tires on his truck and says they are fine, but I thought there was a limit?
Answer: Minnesota law states that all passenger vehicles shall have fenders, or other devices, that are designed to prevent, as far as practicable, water, dirt or other material being thrown up and to the rear by the wheels of the vehicle.
For the tires sticking outside of the fenders the vehicle would need to be equipped with fender flares. The fender flares would need to match the width of the tires sticking out.
You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober.  Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.
If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848.  (Or reach him at,

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