Ask a Trooper: It’s illegal to tint or cover vehicle lights

Published 4:49 pm Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Ask a Trooper by Troy Christianson

Question: Are smoked tail lights illegal in Minnesota?

Troy Christianson

Answer: Minnesota law states that “tail lamps shall be plainly visible from a distance of 100 feet to the rear during normal sunlight and at night.” The same goes for turn signals and headlights. Smoking, tinting, covering or placing any material over tail lights, brake lights, headlights or turn signals would be illegal and unsafe as they would not be plainly visible. It is illegal in all 50 states, because it is a major safety concern.

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I recommend getting into the habit of checking and keeping your rear lights clear of any snow, mud, dirt, dust or anything that can obstruct your lights.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and of course, 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 Trp. Troy Christianson — Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901-5848, or reach him at

Troy Christianson is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.