How many patrol cars are struck while at a crash scene?


From: Sgt. Troy Christianson
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.

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; five troopers injured
• 2011 – 26 squads struck while parked; nine troopers injured
• 2012 – 17 squads struck while parked; four troopers injured
• 2013 – 19 squads struck while parked; three troopers injured
• 2014 – 25 squads struck while parked; four troopers injured
• 2015 YTD – six squads struck while parked; two 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 officers are looking for motorists that fail to move over and will enforce the “Move Over Law or Ted Foss Law.”

Move over citations (MSP only)

• 2008 – 419 citations, 1,327 warnings
• 2009 – 622 citations, 2,342 warnings
• 2010 – 618 citations, 2,466 warnings
• 2011 – 975 citations, 2,898 warnings
• 2012 – 703 citations, 2,667 warnings
• 2013 – 713 citations, 2,209 warnings
• 2014 – 816 citations, 2,476 warnings
• 2015 YTD – 350 citations, 1,070 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, 2900 48th Street Northwest, Rochester, Minn., 55901-5848, or reach him at


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