Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

171.13 EXAMINATION.
    Subdivision 1. Examination subjects and locations; provisions for color blindness,
disabled veterans. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the commissioner shall
examine each applicant for a driver's license by such agency as the commissioner directs. This
examination must include a test of applicant's eyesight; ability to read and understand highway
signs regulating, warning, and directing traffic; knowledge of traffic laws; knowledge of the
effects of alcohol and drugs on a driver's ability to operate a motor vehicle safely and legally, and
of the legal penalties and financial consequences resulting from violations of laws prohibiting
the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; knowledge of
railroad grade crossing safety; knowledge of slow-moving vehicle safety; knowledge of traffic
laws related to bicycles; an actual demonstration of ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable
control in the operation of a motor vehicle; and other physical and mental examinations as the
commissioner finds necessary to determine the applicant's fitness to operate a motor vehicle safely
upon the highways, provided, further however, no driver's license shall be denied an applicant
on the exclusive grounds that the applicant's eyesight is deficient in color perception. Provided,
however, that war veterans operating motor vehicles especially equipped for disabled persons,
shall, if otherwise entitled to a license, be granted such license. The commissioner shall make
provision for giving these examinations either in the county where the applicant resides or at a
place adjacent thereto reasonably convenient to the applicant.
    Subd. 1a. Waiver when license issued by another jurisdiction. (a) The commissioner may
waive the requirement that the applicant demonstrate ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable
control in the operation of a motor vehicle on determining that the applicant possesses a valid
driver's license issued by a jurisdiction that requires a comparable demonstration for license
issuance.
(b) For purposes of this subdivision, "jurisdiction" includes, but is not limited to, both the
active and reserve components of any branch or unit of the United States armed forces, and "valid
driver's license" includes any driver's license that is recognized by that branch or unit as currently
being valid, or as having been valid at the time of the applicant's separation or discharge from
the military within a period of time deemed reasonable and fair by the commissioner, up to and
including one year past the date of the applicant's separation or discharge.
    Subd. 1b. Driver's manual; alcohol consumption. (a) The commissioner shall include in
each subsequent edition of the driver's manual published by the department a chapter relating to:
(1) the effect of alcohol consumption on highway safety and on the ability of drivers to
safely operate motor vehicles;
(2) a summary of the laws of Minnesota on operating a motor vehicle while under the
influence of alcohol or a controlled substance; and
(3) the legal penalties and financial consequences resulting from violations of laws
prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
(b) This chapter shall also include information on the dangers of driving at alcohol
concentration levels below the legal limit for alcohol concentration, and specifically state that:
(1) there is no "safe" level or amount of alcohol that an individual can assume will not impair
one's driving performance or increase the risk of a crash;
(2) a driver may be convicted of driving while impaired whether or not the driver's alcohol
concentration exceeds the legal limit for alcohol concentration; and
(3) a person under the legal drinking age may be convicted of illegally consuming alcohol if
found to have consumed any amount of alcohol, and if that person was driving during or after the
consumption of alcohol is subject to driver's license suspension.
    Subd. 1c. Driver's manual; fleeing from peace officer. The commissioner shall include
in each edition of the driver's manual published by the department a section relating to the
criminal sanctions and forfeiture provisions applicable to persons who flee a peace officer in a
motor vehicle.
    Subd. 1d. Driver's manual; railroad crossing safety. The commissioner shall include
in each edition of the driver's manual published by the department a section relating to safe
operation of vehicles at railroad grade crossings.
    Subd. 1e. Slow-moving vehicle. The commissioner shall include in each examination
under subdivision 1 an examination of the applicant's knowledge of highway safety with
respect to approaching, following, and passing slow-moving vehicles and the significance of
the slow-moving vehicle emblem.
    Subd. 1f. Driver's manual; bicycle traffic. The commissioner shall include in each edition
of the driver's manual published by the department after August 1, 1995, a section relating to
bicycle traffic laws, including any changes in the law which affect bicycle traffic.
    Subd. 1g. Driver's manual; crosswalk right-of-way. The commissioner shall include in
each edition of the driver's manual published by the department after August 1, 1996, a section
relating to the circumstances under which a driver must stop to yield the right-of-way to a
pedestrian in a crosswalk and the penalties for failure to yield.
    Subd. 1h. Driver's manual; organ and tissue donation. The commissioner shall include in
each edition of the driver's manual published by the department after August 1, 2002, a section
that includes information on the shortage of organs and tissues for transplant, basic facts about
donation, use of the driver's license as an indication of donation intent, and the importance of
informing family members of the driver's decision.
    Subd. 2. Examination upon renewal. (a) The department shall issue a driver's license
upon renewal:
(1) when the applicant has passed an examination consisting of a screening of the applicant's
eyesight since the last previous license renewal or issuance;
(2) if applicable, when an applicant has passed a written examination since the last previous
license renewal or issuance and after receiving a warning letter or attending a preliminary hearing
as a habitual violator, within the meaning of rules adopted by the commissioner; and
(3) if applicable, when an applicant has passed a road examination since the last previous
license renewal or issuance and after having had driving privileges suspended as a habitual
violator, within the meaning of rules adopted by the commissioner.
(b) A screening of eyesight required by this subdivision does not constitute the practice of
optometry as defined in section 148.56.
(c) The commissioner may adopt rules to administer this subdivision.
    Subd. 3. Examination of licensed driver. The commissioner may require an examination
by such agency as the commissioner directs of any licensed driver, to determine incompetency,
physical or mental disability or disease, or any other condition which might affect the driver from
exercising reasonable and ordinary control over a motor vehicle, but no examination shall be
required only for the reason that any licensed driver has attained a certain age. If as a result of
the examination the commissioner believes that the driver is an unsafe person to operate a motor
vehicle upon the public highways, the commissioner may cancel the driver's license of the person.
The commissioner shall give the person written notice of the cancellation.
    Subd. 4. Cancellation for failure to submit to examination. If a licensee does not submit
to any examination required under the provisions of subdivision 3, the commissioner may cancel
the driver's license of the licensee. If such license is canceled, the licensee shall immediately
surrender to the department all driver's license certificates in possession.
    Subd. 5. Examination fee for vehicle endorsement. Any person applying to secure a
school bus, tank vehicle, passenger, double-trailer or triple-trailer, or hazardous materials vehicle
endorsement on the person's driver's license shall pay a $2.50 examination fee at the place
of application.
    Subd. 6. Initial motorcycle endorsement fee. A person applying for an initial motorcycle
endorsement on a driver's license shall pay at the place of examination a total fee of $21, which
includes the examination fee and endorsement fee, but does not include the fee for a duplicate
driver's license prescribed in section 171.06, subdivision 2. Of this amount, $11 must be credited
as provided in section 171.06, subdivision 2a, paragraph (a), clause (1), $2.50 must be credited
to the driver services operating account in the special revenue fund specified under section
299A.705, and the remainder must be credited to the general fund.
    Subd. 7. Repeat examination fee. (a) A fee of $10 must be paid by an individual to take a
third and any subsequent knowledge test administered by the department if the individual has
failed two previous consecutive knowledge tests on the subject.
(b) A fee of $20 must be paid by an individual to take a third and any subsequent skills or
road test administered by the department if the individual has previously failed two consecutive
skill or road tests in a specified class of motor vehicle.
(c) All fees received under this subdivision must be paid into the state treasury and credited to
the driver services operating account in the special revenue fund specified under section 299A.705.
History: 1939 c 401 s 13; 1947 c 479 s 1; 1949 c 128 s 1; 1971 c 644 s 13; 1971 c 846 s 1;
1973 c 698 s 5; 1981 c 357 s 64; 1983 c 53 s 1; 1986 c 330 s 2; 1986 c 444; 1988 c 712 s 1; 1989
c 307 s 25; 1991 c 298 art 2 s 3,4; art 7 s 4; 1993 c 142 s 3; 1993 c 187 s 20,21; 1993 c 347 s 13;
1995 c 72 s 3,4; 1995 c 104 s 2,3; 1996 c 333 s 2; 1997 c 159 art 2 s 33,34; 2002 c 305 s 2; 2002
c 371 art 1 s 59; 2005 c 53 s 1; 2005 c 56 s 1; 1Sp2005 c 6 art 2 s 40,41; art 3 s 70