Who is responsible for what at the scene of a crash on a Minnesota highway?


From: Sgt. Troy Christianson
Minnesota State Patrol

Question: Who is responsible for making sure the roadway is cleaned up and free from spilled liquids, glass and other car parts from a crash?

Answer: I have noticed that responding agencies and tow companies usually work as a team to treat the injured, direct traffic, investigate the crash and clear the scene as soon as possible for everyone’s safety. This is especially important on roadways with higher speed limits.

Below is a general list of responsibilities at a crash scene, although each scene differs as to the crash severity and what is needed.

Law enforcement general responsibilities

• Securing the incident scene
• Assist disabled vehicles
• Provide medical aid until help arrives
• Serve as incident commander along with Fire/Rescue
• Direct traffic
• Conduct crash investigation
• Supervise scene clearance

Fire/rescue/EMS general responsibilities

• Protect the incident scene
• Provide medical care
• Provide initial HAZMAT response and containment
• Suppress fire
• Rescue crash victims from vehicles
• Arrange transportation for the injured
• Provide advance emergency medical care
• Determine destination and transportation for the injured
• Coordinate evacuation with fire, police and ambulance/airlift
• Remove medical waste from scene
• Assist in incident clearance

Towing companies’ general responsibilities

• Removing vehicles from scene
• Protecting victims’ property and vehicles
• Provide transportation for uninjured vehicle occupants
• Remove debris from roadway (scene)

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.


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 NW, Rochester, Minn., 55901-5848, or Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us.


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