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Ask a trooper: Impeding Traffic

Sgt. Curt Mowers of the Minnesota State Patrol 

Question: Can a person get a ticket for driving too slow?

Answer: Yes. The only type of roadway in Minnesota with an actual posted minimum speed limit that I know of is the freeway (Interstate), but there may be others. Obviously, weather conditions can effect that and the actual and potential hazards then existing on the highway should result in a driver using due care in operating a vehicle. Therefore, traveling under that limit would be legal and encouraged when there is snow, ice, fog or other inclement weather.

Here is what Minnesota State Statute 169.15 says about impeding traffic: “No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law, or except when the vehicle is temporarily unable to maintain a greater speed due to a combination of the weight of the vehicle and the grade of the highway.”

So, I look at it as how a “normal and reasonable” person would travel on a road. If it’s a clear, sunny day and roads are in good condition and a motorist is unable to maintain a safe speed, I would have to look into the reason why beyond the violation. For example:

• Impairment (alcohol or drugs, even prescription medications)

• General physical or health problems

• Diabetic loss of consciousness or seizures

• Vision problems

• Lack of physical driving skills

• Lack of knowledge of traffic laws

• Mental or emotional problems — road rage, memory loss, etc…

If one or more of these examples is a factor, re-examination of a driver may very well be needed.