Ask a Trooper: Patrol cars more likely to be struck in winter

Published 11:01 am Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sgt. Troy Christianson Ask a Trooper Minnesota State Patrol

Sgt. Troy Christianson
Ask a Trooper
Minnesota State Patrol

Question: How many of your patrol cars have been struck while at a crash scene?

Answer: Winter driving can be and is dangerous for all of us when the weather and road conditions deteriorate.

I have only been involved in one crash while working the road. A motorist made an illegal U-turn in front of me during a snow storm. I was unable to avoid the crash and struck the vehicle. Fortunately for me and the motorists involved there were no injuries, but that is not always the case for Troopers and motorists.

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Here is the crash data from the past seven plus years that involved Minnesota State Patrol squad cars that were struck. Notice that a majority of the crashes occur during the winter season. The 2015 statistics are through July.

MSP patrol cars struck

•2008 — 22 squads struck while parked; 10 Troopers injured

•2009 — 28 squads struck while parked; 10 Troopers injured

•2010 — 27 squads struck while parked; 5 Troopers injured

•2011 — 26 squads struck while parked; 9 Troopers injured

•2012 — 17 squads struck while parked; 4 Troopers injured

•2013 — 19 squads struck while parked; 3 Troopers injured

•2014 — 25 squads struck while parked; 4 Troopers injured

•2015 YTD — 6 squads struck while parked; 2 Troopers injured

Most of these incidents could have been avoided by using safe winter driving techniques, moving over to the other vacant lane when you are on a two-lane same direction roadway or by slowing down and providing room when you see any type of flashing lights.

The law requires motorists to move over for emergency vehicles and tow trucks. Law enforcement is looking for motorists that fail to move over and will enforce the “Move Over Law or Ted Foss Law.”

Move over citations/warnings (MSP Only)

2008 — 419 citations, 1327 warnings

•2009 — 622 citations, 2342 warnings

•2010 — 618 citations, 2466 warnings

•2011 — 975 citations, 2898 warnings

•2012 — 703 citations, 2667 warnings

•2013 — 713 citations, 2209 warnings

•2014 — 816 citations, 2476 warnings

•2015YTD — 350 citations, 1070 warnings

Please slow down, pay attention, drive sober and move over when you see flashing lights and use good safe judgement when traveling.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson — Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848.

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