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Ask a Trooper: Buckling up and speeding up: what carriers and drivers should know

Question 1: Is a rural mail carrier required to wear a seat belt when delivering the mail? Infrequently, I act as a substitute mail carrier.

The vehicle I drive is not a right-hand drive vehicle. The route consists of 170 miles of mostly rural driving, and it is almost impossible to connect and reconnect the seat belt when there are more than 100 mail boxes along the route. 

Answer 1: An exemption, according to Minnesota State Statute (M.S.S.) 169.686 Sub.2, would be "a rural mail carrier of the United States Postal Service or a newspaper delivery person while in the performance of duties."  So as long as you are actively delivering the mail, you do not have to legally wear your seat belt.

Question 2: I would like to know what the speed limit is on gravel roads. I know it can't be over 35 mph, right?

Answer 2: If the gravel road speed limit is not posted, it would be 55 mph. Some rural residential districts may have 35-mph zones posted on their gravel roads, which would obviously be that speed limit. Rural two-lane roads mean greater risk for head-on collisions, unsafe passing, narrow shoulders and poor lighting at night.  So remember, always drive at safe speeds according to road conditions, and provide for plenty of travel time. 

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow - Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 W., Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. You can also email him at