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Ask a Trooper: Different charging options for those who drive into ditch

Q: I've been told troopers are handing out tickets to drivers who slide their vehicles into ditches. I recently saw a state trooper vehicle in the ditch being pulled out by a tow truck. Would that trooper be ticketed just the same as anyone else? I often wonder about this whole driving while talking on a cellphone thing and then observe law enforcement doing the same thing and typing on a laptop computer while driving. This makes very little sense to me.

A: Same as for everyone else, it all depends on the circumstances. Officers always have written tickets at crashes and probably always will. That is not new. Also, usually, the charge would be "too fast for conditions," but there are other statutes such as "careless driving" or "reckless driving" that also could be used, as well as other charges -- again, depending on the circumstances. Being on computers and phones is not safer just because someone has a badge or is driving an emergency vehicle, but it is one of the many necessary evils of the job.

Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is a regional public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol.