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Ask a trooper: Are there any exceptions to the seat belt law?

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Question: I enjoy reading your "ask a trooper" segment in our local paper. Looking on the state website there appears to be some exemptions to the seat belt law and maybe I could be reading it wrong. The one I have a question about is the pickup doing farm work or activity. Just wondering how that would pertain to a farm pickup getting parts in town. Thank you for any information.

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Answer: There are a few exemptions in which seat belts do not apply and one of them being a person driving or riding in a pickup truck while engaged in normal farming work or activity. So what does that mean? Your question asks about getting parts in town. No, getting parts is not an exemption from wearing your seat belt. When the seat belt statute was created along with the exemptions it was done so knowing that farmers are sometimes put into situations due to the nature of their work and an understanding they would use their head. So a farmer running to get parts, eat lunch, attend meetings are just a few examples of what would not qualify.

Here's an example of what may qualify according to Trooper Jesse based on his training and experience: Farming activities requiring the person to alight from and reenter a motor vehicle at frequent intervals (fencing, checking crops, and soil samples). But on the way to or from these examples may not qualify, also taking into consideration the speed and distance the occupant is traveling (for example, a farmer alleging to check crops at 55 mph and five miles from home). Farmers provide one of the most important and greatest services for our communities and country. I am truly thankful for all they do, but I hope that anybody given an exemption would not abuse it. I would like to remind farmers and anybody given an exemption to please still wear your seat belt at all times. Your safety is always important.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws in Minnesota, please send your questions to: Trooper Jesse Grabow - Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 W., Detroit Lakes, MN 56501. Or reach me at jesse.grabow@state.mn.us.

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