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State Patrol alarmed by number of squad cars struck this year

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The Minnesota State Patrol says the number of squad cars getting struck on state roadways this year is on the rise, WCCO reports.

"Since Jan. 1, we’ve had 13 state patrol squads struck, which is a significant increase from what we would normally see," Lt. Eric Roeske of the State Patrol told the station.

The incidents include four squad cars being hit in the span of a few days in the Twin Cities area in mid-January, and a three-car accident on I-94 near Highway 55 in Golden Valley Jan. 31 that injured a trooper.

Roeske says the alarming increase is due to the weather, but sometimes it happens in conditions that aren't all that extreme. He tells WCCO when there are "minor snowfalls, 2 to 5 inches," it's "a much worse situation for us because it’s not enough to slow anybody down but it is enough to make the roads quite slippery."

Roeske tells the station that he hopes snowfalls will be fewer – and that when it does snow, even a small amount, people take it seriously.

"What the public needs to realize is that we're really at the mercy of motorists when we're on the side of the road," Roeske says.

Minnesota’s Move Over Law, which was implemented in 2006, requires drivers to move over one full lane or slow down when passing stopped emergency, maintenance and construction vehicles.

Officially known as the Ted Foss Move Over Law, the measure was named in honor of the State Patrol trooper who was killed while on the shoulder of I-90 in Winona in 2000, the State Patrol says.

The Associated Press says 19 parked State Patrol squads were struck all of last year.

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