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Ask a trooper: What are the E's in traffic safety?

Question: I keep hearing you talking about four "E's" when it comes to traffic safety issues, and I have even heard you talk about a fifth "E." What are they?

Answer: The Four E's are critical components to traffic safety: education, enforcement, EMS and engineering.

The Four E's are a product of the statewide Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) program, which is the umbrella initiative of all Minnesota traffic safety projects.

The TZD formula addresses traffic safety issues by bringing together people from each of the four E's to come up with plans that will help reduce fatal and serious injury crashes. This approach has been very successful in reducing preventable traffic deaths.

The fifth E is something I personally came up with several years ago and have been talking about it a lot in various classes and during traffic safety radio programs and many other venues over the years. The fifth E stands for everyone.

I believe that everyone needs to take personal responsibility for their own actions behind the wheel or as a passenger or pedestrian, a motorcyclist or bicyclist. Everyone needs to work together to ensure a safe environment on our roadways.

Together, we can accomplish much more, and that is what TZD is all about: working together. This is very important now because for the first time in five years, the number of Minnesota's annual traffic deaths is up. We've had a deadly year, and the increase in traffic deaths is a serious wake-up call for all of us to understand our responsibilities behind the wheel.

Is barefoot driving legal?

Question: Since it is summer time and I'm spending a lot of time at the beach with the kids, I often jump in my car to go home and don't put my sandals back on. Is that legal? Can I drive barefoot or would I get a ticket?

Answer: This is a good question that I am asked fairly often. Driving a motor vehicle barefoot in Minnesota is legal. I must say that prudent footwear can be safer, especially when you're operating a motorcycle, moped or even a car.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205 or at