Fifth Wheelin'
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Monday, May 05, 2008

Trooper Says 5er Riders Not Illegal--But Not Safe

A Minnesota State Trooper says that while he doesn't know of any law in his state that prohibits riders in fifth wheels, if he catches you, he'll push for a citation anyway. Trooper Andy Schmidt, writing in the electronic edition of the Detroit Lakes Tribune, says, "In the event of a crash, camper trailers usually do not do very well. They have a tendency to come apart as if a bomb exploded and they offer very little (if any) protection to the occupants."

The fact that there's no specific law of carrying passengers in a fifth wheel doesn't stop Schmidt from taking an 'offending' driver to the dock: "I will push for charges of careless driving as a person should know that camper trailers are not passenger vehicles and therefore the driver is putting the occupants at a greater risk."

We haven't heard of anyone receiving one of Trooper Schmidt's citations; anybody out there got one and contested it?

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11 Comments:

  • Some states like California (Kollyfornia?) allow passengers in a fifth wheel, but not a trailer, if you have an intercom with the driver. Still not safe as being in a car or truck since that stick house construction style does seem to shatter on impact. FWIW.

    By Blogger Brink and Sue, at 3:41 PM  

  • I agree with the trooper, I will not even let my pets ride back there. My concern is what about the seat belt laws. As far as I know they are in all states. I have not seen a 5w yet with seat belts.

    By Anonymous Mike, at 10:21 AM  

  • While it may not be safe, the Trooper is infringing upon constitutional rights by pushing for a citation that no law supports.

    You can't have law enforcement issuing citations for actions not "against the law".

    This is the United States. We have rights to protect citizens from unnecessary and unfair prosectuion. Even if actions fall under the stupid category, if there is no actual law against that action, the police have no right to charge us with a crime.

    What's going to tee off the next trooper you ride by?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:30 AM  

  • While it may not be safe, the Trooper is infringing upon constitutional rights by pushing for a citation that no law supports.

    You can't have law enforcement issuing citations for actions not "against the law".

    This is the United States. We have rights to protect citizens from unnecessary and unfair prosectuion. Even if actions fall under the stupid category, if there is no actual law against that action, the police have no right to charge us with a crime.

    What's going to tee off the next trooper you ride by?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:34 AM  

  • I made it into adulthood riding on the ledge in the back window of our car as a child. It was a time when mothers rode with their babies in their laps in the front seat, too. I live in the south where children and pets still ride in the open bed of pickup trucks. I don’t like the government micro-managing every aspect of my life, but from a safety standpoint, do any of these things make sense? No, the trooper shouldn’t be pushing citations for something that isn’t illegal. It IS a choice, but maybe he’s just tired of seeing the results of foolish acts like riding in a trailer or 5th wheel and wants to make a point. The citation wouldn’t necessarily “stick” in court, but it might stick in your head and save a life or permanent injury at the same time.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:16 AM  

  • My question is how does the trooper know somebody is in the 5th wheel. Is it a legal stop,for a true infraction, or is it a illegal search, which is protected by the constitution, which should be thrown out by the courts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:44 PM  

  • Remember that the dead (or worse) are silent, as are usually those whose irresponsible actions put them in the grave. They can speak only with the voice of those who must gather their broken and charred pieces together. A thankless task indeed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:37 PM  

  • I always find it interesting that drivers who are willing to put their passengers at risk call their action a civil right. Go Figure!!!!!

    By Blogger jesnap, at 8:13 AM  

  • I think I'll go fishing for a trooper.

    U.S. CRIMINAL CODE, TITLE 18, CHAPTER 13, SECTIONS 241 & 242

    Make it a FELONY to use or conspire to ABUSE AUTHORITY UNDER COLOR OF LAW to violate a person's rights.
    BOTTOM LINE, if it's not illegal to ride inside a 5er, IT IS AN ABUSE OF AUTHORITY for any officer to write an arbitrary citation based on his own personal views. His job is to enforce the laws AS WRITTEN, not as he thinks they should be written.

    By Blogger Robert, at 3:29 PM  

  • Jesnap: With all due respect, just because someone is aware of their civil rights (something that every American citizen should be proud to defend) does not mean they break the law, engage in destructive behavior, or put passengers in danger. I would not let anyone ride in my 5th wheel while driving it down the road, and I am offended you believe I or someone like me would, just because we feel the trooper has overstepped his lawful bounds. There may not be a law against riding in a 5th wheel going down the road in every state, but there are laws in every state protecting law-abiding citizens from over-zealous prosecution by police.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:34 PM  

  • I am a retired State Trooper and in my State riding in any trailer or fiver is illegal . I had a 24 yr. career and have seen a lot.I have also been a RVer for over thirty years and like other people will not even put my dogs in a trailer never mind my wife and kids. The units come apart in an accident subjecting people inside to serious injury. I do not agree with the Trooper making his own law that is for the State Government but people should use some common sense with the safety of their families.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:28 AM  

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