St. Paul, MN — Flashing lights mean “move over” in Minnesota — it’s the law. Today, Aug. 31, the Minnesota State Patrol and several agencies statewide will increase patrols to enforce the state’s “Ted Foss Move Over” law.
The effort marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of State Patrol Trooper Foss, who was killed by a passing vehicle as he was conducting a traffic stop on the shoulder of I-90 in Winona.
“We call on the motoring public to be our partners to keep us safe while we do our jobs,” says Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol. “For law enforcement, emergency responders and road crews, the highway is our office, and we need a safe working environment. Move over for flashing lights.”
Minnesota’s “move over” law means:
• If you are traveling on a roadway with two or more lanes, you must keep a full lane away when passing a stopped ambulance, fire truck, law enforcement vehicle, and emergency maintenance and construction vehicles that have flashing lights activated.
• If you are not able to safely move a lane away, reduce your speed.
• If you fail to take these actions, you could receive a citation.
Ignoring this law endangers the personnel who provide critical and life-saving services.
During the last five years (2005–2009), the State Patrol cited 9,173 motorists for Move Over violations, while at least 100 trooper vehicles were hit and 31 troopers were injured. To-date in 2010, troopers have cited 529 motorists for Move Over violations, while 12 trooper vehicles have been hit, and four troopers have been injured. Mn/DOT reports 62 road maintenance vehicles have been hit last year and five workers were injured.
The Move Over law enforcement effort is a component of the state’s core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD). TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response. The goal of the program is 400 or fewer deaths by the end of 2010. The state has recorded 262 traffic deaths to-date.