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Introducing... "The Fifth E'!

Minnesota State Patrol

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 is that and why is it being talked about at certain times during the year?

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 4 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 insure 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.

Let’s close the year safely; during the holidays there will be a statewide campaign to stop drunk drivers. Help us in this effort — plan ahead for a sober ride and report drunk drivers by calling 911.

If you have any questions for future columns concerning motor vehicle traffic in Minnesota, please send your questions to: “ASK A TROOPER” c/o Sgt. Curt S. Mowers MN State Patrol P.O. Box 644 Brainerd, MN 56401 or email questions to: with Ask A Trooper in the subject line. Questions are edited.