Read this before you buy those spiffy tail light covers

If you’re going to drive drunk, don’t buy these types of things to jazz up your truck.


A Meeker County man today lost his attempt to have his DUI license revocation thrown out. His tail light covers did him in.

Joseph Hoekstra was driving his pickup truck in December 2011 when state trooper Casey Meagher, who had been conducting “safe and sober” stops, noticed him pull over to the side of the road. The trooper didn’t notice Hoekstra driving erratically, but he did suspect the tail light “covers,” violated Minnesota law. After Hoekstra pulled back onto the road, Meagher stopped him for the suspected tail light infraction, and determined he was under the influence.

Hoekstra challenged his arrest, saying the tail lights emitted light and he shouldn’t have been stopped. But today the Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected the assertion. It said the rule against “covering” tail lights applies to anything that partially covers them.

The law reads:

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), it is prohibited for any person to: (1) equip a motor vehicle with any equipment or material that covers a headlamp, tail lamp, or reflector; or (2) operate a motor vehicle fitted with or otherwise having equipment or material that covers a headlamp, tail lamp, or reflector.

Hoekstra contends that the word “covers” in the law means “covered completely,” but the Court disagreed, upholding the revocation of his driver’s license.