Running out of fuel on Interstate?

Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
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Dear Trooper Kathy: I was visited by a relative who had run out of fuel on Interstate 90.Ê Sitting alongside of the road and waiting for a tow, a trooper pulled up behind and asked "what was the emergency?" When explained that he ran out of fuel, the trooper stated that it was illegal to run out of fuel on the Interstate; however, would not issue a ticket but, instead, issue a warning. The exchange was very pleasant; but we both were surprised as, certainly, fuel exhaustion is an unavoidable emergency, should it happen, that could be construed as an emergency. Am I incorrect?

Trooper Kathy says: Sorry, but you are not going to like my answer. Your first premise "fuel exhaustion is an unavoidable emergency" is incorrect. In fact, an empty fuel tank is VERY avoidable and therefore is NOT an emergency. How many gas stations did this person drive by? If the gas gauge is stuck or broken, it is the drivers' responsibility to keep the vehicle's equipment in good working order. I actually have a couple of laws for you to read.

UNSAFE EQUIPMENT: 169.47 Subdivision 1. Misdemeanor;

¥ It is unlawful and punishable as hereinafter provided for any person to drive or for the owner to cause or knowingly permit to be driven on any highway any vehicle or combination of vehicles which is in such unsafe condition as to endanger any person, or which does not contain those parts or is not at all times equipped with equipment in proper condition and adjustment as required in this chapter, or which is equipped in any manner in violation of this chapter, or for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required under this chapter.


¥ Upon any highway outside of a business or residence district no person shall stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle, whether attended or unattended, upon the paved or improved or main-traveled part of the highway when it is practical to stop, park, or so leave such vehicle off such part of said highway, but in every event a clear and unobstructed width of at least 20 feet of such part of the highway opposite such standing vehicle shall be left for the free passage of other vehicles and a clear view of such stopped vehicle be available from a distance of 200 feet in each direction upon such highway.


¥ Subdivision 1. Entrance and exit; use regulations; signs; rules.

The commissioner of transportation may by order, with respect to any controlled-access highway under their jurisdictions prohibit or regulate the use of any such highway by any class or kind of traffic which is found to be incompatible with the normal and safe flow of traffic.

¥ The commissioner of transportation or the public authority adopting any such prohibitory rules shall erect and maintain official signs on the controlled-access highway on which such rules are applicable and when so erected no person shall disobey the restrictions stated on such signs.

If you have any questions regarding traffic safety and/or traffic laws, please e-mail her at < This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Sgt. Pederson will not offer advice on specific situations or real events, which involve law enforcement.