ROCHESTER, Minn. – State Patrol Trooper Ted Foss lost his life fifteen years ago when he was struck by a passing vehicle during a traffic stop on the shoulder of Interstate 90 in Winona. On Monday, Aug. 31, extra enforcement of the Ted Foss Move Over law will raise awareness of this important law and keep others safe whose jobs require them to work on the shoulder of a road.
The Ted Foss Move Over law requires that on a road with two or more lanes going the same direction, drivers must move over one full lane from stopped emergency vehicles that have their flashing lights activated. That includes ambulance, fire, law enforcement, maintenance, construction vehicles and tow trucks. If it is not safe to move over, the driver should slow down.
Foss’s Mother Speaks Up for Safety
At a news conference in Rochester, Shirley Foss, the 88-year old mother of Ted, described the pain she still feels fifteen years after losing her son. Shirley wants Minnesotans to understand why that extra buffer of space is so important.
“I wake up every day thinking Ted will walk through the door at any moment. He would be alive today if the driver would have moved over and let Ted do his job in a safe way,” said Foss. “The Ted Foss Move Over law won’t bring Ted back, but I know in my heart that it’s helped keep people safe. On the 15th anniversary of my son’s death, please remember to keep your eye on the road and move over to protect those trying to do their jobs.”
For Lt. Dan Lewis, Minnesota State Patrol, the Ted Foss Move Over Law is both personal and professional. Lewis was the Trooper who notified Ted’s family about the crash and Ted’s death on Aug. 31, 2000. So far in his career, motorists have hit Lewis 11 times while on the side of the road.
“Every time I make a traffic stop or investigate a crash on Minnesota roads, I’m looking over my shoulder, hoping drivers are paying attention,” said Lewis. “I’ve been hit 11 times by cars while doing my job. That’s 11 times too many. Our goal every day is to get you home safe to be with your families. Please move over when you see flashing lights on the side of the road so we can do the same at the end of our shift.”
Dangers on the Shoulder
Minnesota State Patrol Vehicle Statistics:
- 2014 – 30 squads struck while parked; 4 Troopers injured.
- 2015 YTD – 6 squads struck while parked; 2 Troopers injured.
Move Over Citations (issued by Minnesota State Patrol)
- 2014 – 816 citations, 2,476 warnings.
- 2015 YTD 435 citations, 1,432 warnings.
“The road is our office and giving us a safe space to work protects us and other drivers from the dangers of a crash,” said Col. Matt Langer, Chief of the Minnesota State Patrol. “On Monday, law enforcement will be paying special attention to drivers getting too close, but this isn’t a one-day concern. Every day when you get behind the wheel, make the right choice and move over for emergency activity on the shoulder.”
Drivers cited for failing to obey the law may be fined in excess of $100. Motorists are encouraged to reduce their speed if they can’t safely move over one full lane.
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
DPS comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Minnesota State Patrol
More than 500 Minnesota State Patrol troopers are the foundation of the agency that works to provide a safe environment on Minnesota’s roads by assisting motorists, taking enforcement action and educating drivers about traffic safety issues. In addition to road safety activities, troopers conduct flight patrols, search and rescue missions and assist other law enforcement agencies.
In 1929, the Minnesota Legislature created the Highway Patrol after lawmakers recognized the need for a traffic enforcement agency in response to the boom of automobiles. The first patrol force comprised 35 men. In 1970, the Highway Patrol became a division of the Department of Public Safety and, four years later, its official name was changed to the Minnesota State Patrol.
About the Office of Traffic Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. DPS-OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.
DPS-OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’sToward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety program. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes – education, enforcement, engineering, and emergency medical and trauma response.
Recent DPS-OTS Activity and Statistics
- Officers, deputies and troopers cited 16,410 motorists for unsafe speeds from July 10 - 26; that’s compared with 16,926 speeding tickets during last year’s campaign.
- Increased fines for repeat texting while driving offenders went into effect August 1. Under the enhanced law, drivers face a $225 fine for second and subsequent violations of the texting while driving law, in addition to the current $50 fine. The $275 fine, plus court fees, can cost an offender more than $300.
- The Minnesota Department of Public Safety recently produced a video about the dangers of distracted driving called: Shattered Dreams: Distracted Driving Changes Lives.
Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2014
is a summary of traffic crashes derived from law enforcement reports and describes how, why and where crashes occurred and who was involved.
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