Ask A Trooper

Sgt. Neil Dickenson, Minnesota State Patrol
Sgt. Neil Dickenson, Minnesota State Patrol

How fast can I drive before getting stopped? Is there a tolerance?
I have been asked that question more than most other questions. Simply, State Patrol policy does not allow for any speeds in excess of the posted limit.
Officers have to go by their departmental policy, the totality of circumstances and all other conditions (road, weather, lighting and traffic) and common sense. Speeding and driving too fast for the conditions is discouraged by law enforcement everywhere.
The law regarding speed in Minnesota talks about the duty to drive with due care and says that no person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions. Every driver is responsible for becoming and remaining aware of the actual and potential hazards then existing on the highway and must use due care in operating a vehicle.
I see what happens when drivers make the decision to travel over the speed limit in general and when the current road/weather conditions dictate to slow down. I believe that most vehicles that go off the road and spin out in the winter season are due to drivers going too fast for the conditions. Remember that the posted speed limit might not be the safest speed when the roads become slippery. The driver could be cited under the duty to drive with due care law in Minnesota.
Drivers need to understand that speed kills. In the last five years (2011 – 2015) speed has contributed to an average of 81 deaths and 211 life-changing injuries a year. For every 10 miles per hour you drive over the speed limit, your chances of getting seriously injured or killed if you are in a crash are doubled. So, just by driving 70 mph, your chances of getting seriously injured or killed are four times greater than when you are driving 50 mph! Remember too that fines double when going 20 mph or more over the speed limit, and if you are going more than 100 mph, you can lose your license for up to six months.
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 Sgt. Neil Dickenson – Minnesota State Patrol at 1131 Mesaba Ave, Duluth, MN 55811. (You can follow me on Twitter @MSPPIO_NE or reach me at [email protected]).