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Chapter 171

Section 171.02

Recent History

    Subdivision 1. License required; duplicate identification restricted. Except when
expressly exempted, a person shall not drive a motor vehicle upon a street or highway in this state
unless the person has a license valid under this chapter for the type or class of vehicle being
driven. The department shall not issue a driver's license to a person unless and until the person's
license from any jurisdiction has been invalidated. The department shall provide to the issuing
department of any jurisdiction, information that the licensee is now licensed in Minnesota. A
person is not permitted to have more than one valid driver's license at any time. The department
shall not issue to a person to whom a current Minnesota identification card has been issued a
driver's license, other than a limited license, unless the person's Minnesota identification card
has been invalidated. This subdivision does not require invalidation of a tribal identification card
as a condition of receiving a driver's license.
    Subd. 2. Driver's license classifications, endorsements, exemptions. (a) Drivers' licenses
are classified according to the types of vehicles that may be driven by the holder of each type
or class of license. The commissioner may, as appropriate, subdivide the classes listed in this
subdivision and issue licenses classified accordingly.
(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c), clauses (1) and (2), and subdivision 2a, no class of
license is valid to operate a motorcycle, school bus, tank vehicle, double-trailer or triple-trailer
combination, vehicle transporting hazardous materials, or bus, unless so endorsed. There are four
general classes of licenses as described in paragraphs (c) through (f).
(c) Class D drivers' licenses are valid for:
(1) operating all farm trucks if the farm truck is:
(i) controlled and operated by a farmer, including operation by an immediate family member
or an employee of the farmer;
(ii) used to transport agricultural products, farm machinery, or farm supplies, including
hazardous materials, to or from a farm;
(iii) not used in the operations of a common or contract motor carrier as governed by Code of
Federal Regulations, title 49, part 365; and
(iv) used within 150 miles of the farm;
(2) notwithstanding paragraph (b), operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in
section 169.01, subdivision 5, whether or not in excess of 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight;
(3) operating a recreational vehicle as defined in section 168.011, subdivision 25, that is
operated for personal use;
(4) operating all single-unit vehicles except vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more
than 26,000 pounds, vehicles designed to carry more than 15 passengers including the driver,
and vehicles that carry hazardous materials;
(5) notwithstanding paragraph (d), operating a type A school bus without a school bus
endorsement if:
(i) the bus has a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or less;
(ii) the bus is designed to transport 15 or fewer passengers, including the driver; and
(iii) the requirements of subdivision 2a are satisfied, as determined by the commissioner;
(6) operating any vehicle or combination of vehicles when operated by a licensed peace
officer while on duty; and
(7) towing vehicles if:
(i) the towed vehicles have a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or less; or
(ii) the towed vehicles have a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds and the
combination of vehicles has a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or less.
(d) Class C drivers' licenses are valid for:
(1) operating class D motor vehicles;
(2) with a hazardous materials endorsement, transporting hazardous materials in class
D vehicles; and
(3) with a school bus endorsement, operating school buses designed to transport 15 or
fewer passengers, including the driver.
(e) Class B drivers' licenses are valid for:
(1) operating all class C motor vehicles, class D motor vehicles, and all other single-unit
motor vehicles including, with a passenger endorsement, buses; and
(2) towing only vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or less.
(f) Class A drivers' licenses are valid for operating any vehicle or combination of vehicles.
    Subd. 2a. Exception for certain school bus drivers. Notwithstanding subdivision 2,
paragraph (c), the holder of a class D driver's license, without a school bus endorsement, may
operate a type A school bus described in subdivision 2, paragraph (b), under the following
(a) The operator is an employee of the entity that owns, leases, or contracts for the school
bus and is not solely hired to provide transportation services under this subdivision.
(b) The operator drives the school bus only from points of origin to points of destination, not
including home-to-school trips to pick up or drop off students.
(c) The operator is prohibited from using the eight-light system. Violation of this paragraph
is a misdemeanor.
(d) The operator's employer has adopted and implemented a policy that provides for annual
training and certification of the operator in:
(1) safe operation of the type of school bus the operator will be driving;
(2) understanding student behavior, including issues relating to students with disabilities;
(3) encouraging orderly conduct of students on the bus and handling incidents of misconduct
(4) knowing and understanding relevant laws, rules of the road, and local school bus safety
(5) handling emergency situations; and
(6) safe loading and unloading of students.
(e) A background check or background investigation of the operator has been conducted that
meets the requirements under section 122A.18, subdivision 8, or 123B.03 for teachers; section
144.057 or chapter 245C for day care employees; or section 171.321, subdivision 3, for all other
persons operating a type A school bus under this subdivision.
(f) Operators shall submit to a physical examination as required by section 171.321,
subdivision 2
(g) The operator's driver's license is verified annually by the entity that owns, leases, or
contracts for the school bus.
(h) A person who sustains a conviction, as defined under section 609.02, of violating section
169A.25, 169A.26, 169A.27, 169A.31, 169A.51, or 169A.52, or a similar statute or ordinance of
another state is precluded from operating a school bus for five years from the date of conviction.
(i) A person who has ever been convicted of a disqualifying offense as defined in section
171.3215, subdivision 1, paragraph (c), may not operate a school bus under this subdivision.
(j) A person who sustains a conviction, as defined under section 609.02, of a fourth moving
offense in violation of chapter 169 is precluded from operating a school bus for one year from the
date of the last conviction.
(k) Students riding the school bus must have training required under section 123B.90,
subdivision 2
(l) An operator must be trained in the proper use of child safety restraints as set forth in the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "Guideline for the Safe Transportation of
Pre-school Age Children in School Buses."
(m) Annual certification of the requirements listed in this subdivision must be maintained
under separate file at the business location for each operator licensed under this subdivision and
subdivision 2, paragraph (b), clause (5). The business manager, school board, governing body of a
nonpublic school, or any other entity that owns, leases, or contracts for the school bus operating
under this subdivision is responsible for maintaining these files for inspection.
(n) The school bus must bear a current certificate of inspection issued under section 169.451.
(o) The word "School" on the front and rear of the bus must be covered by a sign that reads
"Activities" when the bus is being operated under authority of this subdivision.
    Subd. 3. Motorized bicycle. (a) A motorized bicycle may not be operated on any public
roadway by any person who does not possess a valid driver's license, unless the person has
obtained a motorized bicycle operator's permit or motorized bicycle instruction permit from
the commissioner of public safety. The operator's permit may be issued to any person who has
attained the age of 15 years and who has passed the examination prescribed by the commissioner.
The instruction permit may be issued to any person who has attained the age of 15 years and who
has successfully completed an approved safety course and passed the written portion of the
examination prescribed by the commissioner.
(b) This course must consist of, but is not limited to, a basic understanding of:
(1) motorized bicycles and their limitations;
(2) motorized bicycle laws and rules;
(3) safe operating practices and basic operating techniques;
(4) helmets and protective clothing;
(5) motorized bicycle traffic strategies; and
(6) effects of alcohol and drugs on motorized bicycle operators.
(c) The commissioner may adopt rules prescribing the content of the safety course,
examination, and the information to be contained on the permits. A person operating a motorized
bicycle under a motorized bicycle permit is subject to the restrictions imposed by section 169.974,
subdivision 2
, on operation of a motorcycle under a two-wheel instruction permit.
(d) The fees for motorized bicycle operator's permits are as follows:

Examination and operator's permit, valid for one year
$ 6

$ 3

Renewal permit before age 21 and valid until age 21
$ 9

Renewal permit age 21 or older and valid for four years

Duplicate of any renewal permit
$ 4.50

Written examination and instruction permit, valid for 30 days
$ 6
    Subd. 4. Restricted commercial driver's license. (a) The commissioner may issue restricted
commercial drivers' licenses and take the following actions to the extent that the actions are
authorized by regulation of the United States Department of Transportation in Code of Federal
Regulations, title 49, section 383.3, paragraph (f):
(1) prescribe examination requirements and other qualifications for the license;
(2) prescribe classes of vehicles that may be operated by holders of the license;
(3) specify commercial motor vehicle operation that is authorized by the license, and prohibit
other commercial motor vehicle operation by holders of the license; and
(4) prescribe the period of time during which the license is valid.
(b) Restricted commercial drivers' licenses are subject to sections 171.165 and 171.166 in the
same manner as other commercial drivers' licenses.
(c) Actions of the commissioner under this subdivision are not subject to sections 14.05 to
14.47 of the Administrative Procedure Act.
    Subd. 5. Exemption for certain backup snowplow drivers. Pursuant to the waiver
authorization set forth in Public Law 104-59, section 345, subsection (a), paragraph (5), a person
who operates a commercial motor vehicle for the purpose of removing snow or ice from a roadway
by plowing, salting, or sanding is not required to hold a commercial driver's license if the person:
(1) is an employee of a local unit of government with a population of 3,000 or less;
(2) is operating within the boundaries of the local unit of government;
(3) holds a valid class D driver's license; and
(4) except in the event of a lawful strike, is temporarily replacing the employee who normally
operates the vehicle but either is unable to operate the vehicle or is in need of additional assistance
due to a snow emergency as determined by the local unit of government.
History: (2720-143) 1939 c 401 s 2; 1963 c 393 s 1; 1971 c 644 s 4; 1973 c 16 s 1; 1977 c
214 s 12; 1977 c 429 s 63; 1978 c 479 s 1; 1979 c 227 s 3; 1981 c 363 s 29; 1984 c 546 s 1; 1985
c 248 s 70; 1985 c 291 s 19; 1986 c 444; 1986 c 454 s 21; 1987 c 269 s 7; 1987 c 358 s 110;
1989 c 301 s 4,5; 1989 c 307 s 17; 1989 c 342 s 21; 1990 c 529 s 5; 1991 c 174 s 8; 1991 c 298
art 7 s 2; 1991 c 333 s 24-26; 1992 c 581 s 14; 1993 c 78 s 4; 1993 c 142 s 1; 1993 c 266 s 20;
1994 c 465 art 3 s 48; 1995 c 95 s 7; 1995 c 174 s 3; 1996 c 275 s 1,2; 1997 c 35 s 1; 2001 c 97 s
3,4; 1Sp2001 c 6 art 2 s 60; 2002 c 371 art 1 s 50,51; 2003 c 15 art 1 s 33; 1Sp2003 c 19 art 2 s
38,64; 2005 c 160 s 1; 1Sp2005 c 6 art 3 s 59; 2006 c 253 s 11

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Revisor of Statutes