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"Ask A Trooper" discusses lighted billboards

by Bonnie Amistadi

ASK A TROOPER by Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol

Question: I would like to know if there are installation requirements for billboard lighting. The new billboard lights are blinding drivers. Sometimes you cannot see oncoming traffic, pedestrians or animals. There are sign companies that do this without this problem. How would you contact the people who install them to let them know this problem exists?

Answer: I am not personally aware of all of the specific installation requirements for billboard lighting, but I do know they cant be a traffic hazard at any rate. Generally, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) handles those situations. Any time there is a situation like that, it would be a good idea to notify them. They will check it out and take the appropriate action.

There have been times that I personally spoke with the ones who put up lights that were blinding to traffic, and they voluntarily took them down; however, I still recommend contacting the nearest MnDOT office and let them know about the specific locations you are referring to. I suppose you also could let the sign company know that it is creating a traffic hazard and see what they will do. Sometimes the contact information is part of the billboard.

If you are driving and you observe a lighting hazard of any kind, slow down immediately, because it is a hazard. Dont look directly at the light. We cant control the hazards, but we can control how we react to them.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us ).