Helpful Answers To Common Questions


What does State Law say about the color, type and quantity of lights I can have on my vehicle?

Michigan Law dictates what types and colors of lights you can have on your vehicle.  The following sections of law apply:     257.696 , 257.697 , 257.698  and  257.699 .  The law dictates that:

  • you may display only white and/or amber lights on the front of your vehicle (technically, the blue headlight bulbs are illegal). 
  • At the rear of the vehicle you may only have red or amber lights, except the reverse and license plate lights.  Your stop lights must be visible from 100 feet, day or night. 
  • Lights visible from the sides of a vehicle must be amber or red. 
  • Lights must be maintained in good working order.
  • 257.698 (4) Unless both covered and unlit, a vehicle driven on the highways of this state shall not be equipped with a lamp or a part designed to be a reflector unless expressly required or permitted by this chapter...  This makes it unlawful to have the under-body neon lights that are popular elsewhere.
  • 257.698 (5) The use or possession of flashing, oscillating, or rotating lights of any color is prohibited except as otherwise provided by law...   This makes the chase lights unlawful.
What does State Law say about using seat belts?

Michigan Law requires the following for occupants of motor vehicles on public roads, streets and highways:

  • All passengers between 0 and 3 years old must be properly secured in an approved child restraint system.  (Sec 257.10d)  The driver will be ticketed for violations of this section.
  • All passengers between 4 and 15 must wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt.  (Sec 257.10e)  The driver will be ticketed for violations of this section.
  • The vehicle driver and any front-seat passengers must wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt.  (Sec 257.10e)  The violating occupant will be ticketed for violations of this section.

There are exceptions permitted under the law:

Child Restraint Exemptions for children under 4 years of age when:

  • they are a passenger in a bus, school bus, taxicab, moped, motorcycle or other motor vehicle not required to be equipped with safety belts.
  • they are being nursed.
  • they qualify for a Secretary of State rule exemption due to size, medical problem or physical unfitness

Safety Belt Exemptions for:

Driver or passenger when:

  • in a motor vehicle manufactured prior to January 1, 1965 or
  • in a bus, motorcycle or moped or
  • who has written verification from a physician for physical or medical reasons or
  • who is in a motor vehicle which, under federal law, is not required to be equipped with safety belts, or
  • in a commercial or US Postal vehicle that makes frequent stops, or
  • is a rural Postal Carrier, while serving their route.

Exemptions which apply to Passengers Only when:

  • in a school bus (the driver must wear safety belt), or
  • 4 years old or older, but less than 16 in rear seats if all available belts are used and the driver and all front-seat passengers are properly belted, or
  • 4 years old or older but less than 16, in front seat of a pickup without an extended cab or jump seats, if all available belts are used.

Important points to remember:

  • Violations of Michigan's Seat Belt Laws are civil infractions.
  • Citations issued for violations do not result in points on your driver's license.
  • 257.710.e(6) Failure to wear a safety belt in violation of this section may be considered evidence of negligence and may reduce the recovery for damages arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or operation of a motor vehicle. However, such negligence shall not reduce the recovery for damages by more than 5%.
  • Seat belts must be properly adjusted - which means they must be worn as designed by the manufacturer.  If a shoulder harness is present it must be worn, and not tucked behind the arm.
  • Seat belts must be fastened - which means they must be secured as designed by the manufacturer, not held in place by hand or other means in order to give the appearance that they are being worn.


What does State Law say about passengers in the open bed of a pickup truck?

Section 257.682b of the Uniform Traffic Code says that you shall not allow passengers in the open bed of your pickup truck, except as follows:

  • The passenger is 18 years of age or older, or
  • The vehicle does not travel more than 15 miles per hour while the open bed is occupied, or
  • The vehicle is part of a parade pursuant to a permit issued by the governmental unit with jurisdiction over the highway or street, or
  • The vehicle is a military vehicle, an authorized emergency vehicle, is operated by employer or employee of a farm operation or construction business, or
  • Is being used to transport a search and rescue team to or from the site of an emergency.

Violations of the section are a civil infraction.


Where is skateboarding allowed in the City?

The City provides a skateboard park in one of the tennis courts of Scidmore Park.  Skateboards may also be used on private property, and on most City sidewalks, so long as the flow of pedestrian traffic is not impeded.  Skateboards may not be used on sidewalks in the downtown area.  Skateboards may not be used on any roadway within the City.


What rules apply to burning my trash in Three Rivers?

By City ordinance you are allowed to burn waste materials on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00 Am until 7:00 PM.  You can also burn on Saturdays from 9:00 am until 5:00 PM.

You must attend your fire, and must have a water source available to extinguish a blaze which becomes out of control.  All fires must be contained  in a substantial metal container, except recreational bonfires.  Yard waste, leaves, or other items which emit a large amount of smoke may not be burned.  You must not burn garbage or other substances which emit strong or foul odors.


Is there a curfew in Three Rivers?
  • All children 11 years of age or younger are required to be in a residence by 10:00 PM unless accompanied by a parent.
  • Children who are between the ages of 12 and 16 must be in a residence by midnight.


What is this new Michigan Driver Responsibility Program I'm Hearing About?

A new law passed in 2003 could have a big impact on your wallet if you're not a careful driver.  Click here for more information.


How Many Points Do I Get On My License For Driving Offenses?


Offense: # Points:
  • Manslaughter, negligent homicide, or a felony resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle, ORV, or snowmobile
  • Causing death or injury to a construction zone worker
  • Causing death or injury to an operator of animal husbandry equipment
  • Causing death or injury to a policeman, firefighter or EMT at the scene of an emergency
  • Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
  • Operating an ORV or snowmobile while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
  • Failure to stop and identify yourself at the scene of an accident
  • Reckless driving
  • Fleeing or eluding a police officer
  • Refusal to take a chemical test
  • Driving more than 15 miles per hour faster than the posted speed in a Construction Zone.
  • Exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 15 miles per hour
  • Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Operation of an ORV or snowmobile while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  •  Operation of a motor vehicle with any blood alcohol content by a person under 21 years of age.
  •  Failure to yield or show due caution for an emergency vehicle
  •  Drag racing
  •  Careless driving
  • Exceeding the posted speed limit by 11 to 15 miles per hour.
  • Disobeying a traffic signal or stop sign
  • Failure to stop at a railroad crossing
  • Failure to stop for a school bus or disobeying a school crossing guard.
  • Exceeding the posted speed limit by 10 or less miles per hour
  • Open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle
  • All other moving violations of traffic laws
  •  Refusal of a PBT by anyone under 21 years of age.
  • Transportation or possession of alcohol by persons under the age of 21
  •  Level 1 driver driving without parent or qualifying adult
  • If more than 1 conviction, civil infraction determination, or probate court disposition results from the same incident, points shall be entered only for the violation that receives the highest number of points under this section.
  • Points shall not be entered for overweight loads or for defective equipment.


  • Male teenage drivers with a bodily alcohol content between 0.05 and 0.10 percent are 18 times more likely than a sober, male teenage driver to be killed in a single vehicle crash.

  • Intoxicated female teenagers are 54 times more likely to be killed than a sober counterpart. 



This is not an all-inclusive list and can be changed without notice by the State of Michigan.  Always consult an official source if you have questions.  This information should not be used to replace the advice of counsel when needed.



What is the current drunk driving law in Michigan?
On September 30, 2003 Michigan became the 44th state in the US to lower their drunk driving standard to .08 blood alcohol content (BAC).  Studies found that the average person's driving skills are seriously compromised at the .08 BAC level.  They have also found that the new lower level has reduced the number of traffic fatalities involving intoxicated drivers in other states.

The law provides the following penalties for first time convictions:

Up to 93 days in jail.
Up to a $500 fine.
Up to 360 hours of community service.
Up to 6 points on a drivers license.
Up to 180 days license suspension.
A new Secretary of State penalty of $1,000 per year for two years.

If you refuse a breath test, the first time you will have an automatic one-year drivers license suspension.  A second refusal in seven years will result in a two year suspension of your driving privileges.

In addition, the law makes it unlawful for you to drive with even a trace amount of non-medicinal drugs (i.e. marijuana, GHB, cocaine, etc.) in your system, even if you show no signs of impairment. 




Portions of this work are reproduced with permission of the copyright holder, the Michigan Legislative CouncilMichigan statutes are presented on the legislative website (, without warranties, express or implied, regarding the information's accuracy, timeliness, or completeness. Further, the information obtained from this site is not intended to replace official versions of that information and is subject to revision.






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