Ask A Trooper: Rules Of The Road For Pick-Up Trucks

Published On: Oct 02 2011 04:08:09 PM EDT   Updated On: Sep 16 2011 11:06:26 AM EDT

Sports fans in Michigan, we have had a great week with our Lions, Tigers, Wolverines and Spartans and other teams. Lucky for me my wife likes to watch the games too because the lawn didn?t quite get mowed like it was suppose to.

Jim from Howell, MI asks:?Is riding in the back of a pickup truck legal?? Riding in the back of a pickup can be very dangerous because you have no protection if something goes wrong.

The answer to Jim?s question is found in the Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL), 257.682b (1) which states: ?Except as provided in this section, an operator shall not permit a person less than 18 years of age to ride in the open bed of a pickup truck on a highway, road, or street in a city, village, or township at a speed greater than 15 miles per hour.?

MCL 257.682b (2) has exceptions to allow persons to ride in the back of pickup. These exceptions apply to operators to any of the following: A motor vehicle operated as part of a parade pursuant to a permit issued by the governmental unit with jurisdiction over the highway or street, a military motor vehicle, an authorized emergency vehicle, a motor vehicle controlled or operated by an employer or an employee of a farm operation, construction business, or similar enterprise during the course of work activities and a motor vehicle used to transport a search and rescue team to and from the site of an emergency.

Sally Scharrer of Fowlerville, MI asks: ?What are the laws pertaining to yellow caution traffic lights? That subject is the only one I got wrong on the drivers test.?

Sally this question reminds me of the 1984 movie ?Starman? staring Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen. I liked the movie and you should rent the video because Jeff Bridges character explains his driving actions with this statement, ?red light stop, green light go, yellow light go faster?.? If you rent the video you will know exactly how that portion of the movie is related to your question.

The Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) states in their booklet, ?Signs, Pavement Markings, and Signals, ? A yellow light means the green signal has ended and the signal is about to turn red. You are required to stop on a yellow light. If you cannot stop safely, do not speed up but drive cautiously through the intersection.?

The official language regarding yellow traffic lights is found in MCL 257.612 (1)b, which states, ?If the signal exhibits a steady yellow indication, vehicular traffic facing the signal shall stop before entering the nearest crosswalk at the intersection or at a limit line when marked, but if the stop cannot be made in safety, a vehicle may be driven cautiously through the intersection."'

Here?s a ?red light? joke as told by that famous comedian, Red Skelton: ?I was recently riding with a friend of mine. We were coming to a red light, and he shoots right through it. I ask him, "Why'd you do that?" He tells me this is how his brother drives. We come to another red light, and again, he shoots right through it. I ask him, "Why'd you do that?" Again, he tells me this is how his brother drives. We come to a green light, and he SLAMS on the brakes. My heart nearly goes into my throat. I shouted at him, "Why do you do that?!" He replied, "You never know, my brother could be coming the other way."

Sgt. Mark Thompson, of the Michigan State Police?Brighton Post has been a police officer for more than 31 years. His experience includes walking a beat and going undercover to patrolling roads, and working in rural and urban areas. He currently works as the desk sergeant at the Brighton Post.

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