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Ask A Trooper: Must troopers wear safety vests at crash scenes?

Question: What is your policy on troopers wearing the high visible safety vests while at a crash scene? Stay safe out there.

Answer: All workers (tow truck drivers, EMS, fire, police etc.) who are working at a crash scene are required to wear high visibility garments or approved fire department gear, per the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Federal Highway Administration.

The Minnesota State Patrol policy complies with state and federal regulations. It states that it's mandatory to wear the high visibility apparel when employees are involved in activities such as working at crash scenes, directing traffic, investigating crashes, conducting vehicle inspection, working road construction details, handling lane closures or obstructed roadways, and when managing disasters within the right-of-way.

High-visible garments are not mandatory for law enforcement personnel on routine traffic stops or in situations where it would create a greater safety hazard for the officer. An example would be a person with a gun-type situation that occurs along the highway.

High-visible garments are part of a nationwide worker safety project to reduce deaths and injuries. The high visibility garment standard has been successful in saving lives and preventing injuries to workers in all occupations who work on our busy highways, streets, roads and parking lots.

Emergency responders are provided training on the importance of wearing safety equipment for our own safety and how to protect a crash scene to keep everyone safe.

All Minnesotans need to do their part in keeping everyone safe on our roads by avoiding all distractions and never driving impaired or fatigued. Pay attention 100 percent of the time while driving. It'll increase your chances of avoiding crashes and potential road hazards, including at a crash scene where you'll have the time and ability to slow down and move over.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow — Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us).

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