Ask A Trooper

Sgt. Jesse Grabow

Question: Can I drive my car without the plastic bumper? My son hit a snow bank and it fell of the other day. Later he was stopped for not having a front license plate as it was attached to the bumper. Can he display the license plate in the front windshield?

  Answer: When you mentioned “plastic bumper” I am guessing you meant the bumper cover. Also known as the front fascia, the visible, molded body component that’s typically made out of either plastic or fiberglass. This is the part of the front end that people often misidentify as the bumper itself. The bumper cover sits in front of the actual bumper. As long as you have the actual bumper you are fine.

  As for the license plate that is no longer attached to the front bumper, placing it up in your windshield is not allowed. You can mount it to the metal bumper or the vehicle’s grill. You will need to fasten it securely as to prevent it from swaying. The license plate needs to be displayed horizontally with the identifying numbers and letters facing outward from the vehicle and mounted in the upright position.

  The license plate is to be kept legible and unobstructed and free from grease, dust, or other blurring material so that the lettering is plainly visible at all times. It is unlawful to cover any assigned letters and numbers or the name of the state of origin of a license plate with any material whatever, including any clear or colorless material that affects the plate’s visibility or reflectivity.

  A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205.  (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at,