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Your final destination is never guaranteed

June 15, 2017

Photo of a car crash scene.
​Photo: The 100 deadliest days on Minnesota roads are Memorial Day through Labor Day. But keeping a few simple things in mind can help you avoid ending up like this.

 

Your final destination is never guaranteed. We know this because from Memorial Day through Labor Day, people die on Minnesota roads at a rate of more than one per day – and we can all agree that one per month or even one per summer is too many. That’s why we refer to that stretch of time as the 100 deadliest days on Minnesota roads.

Preliminary numbers show that the 100 deadliest days in 2016 yielded 120 fatalities out of 392 total for the year. That means that 31 percent of traffic deaths occurred during 27 percent of the year.

What caused all these fatalities? The main factors are drunk driving (it almost always contributes to the largest number of traffic deaths in the summer), speed, distraction and lack of seatbelt.

And that’s what’s really heartbreaking about traffic fatalities: Most of them are preventable. You can find a sober driver. You can put on your seat belt. You can go the speed limit. You can put down your phone.

In fact, more than 300 law enforcement agencies across the state are helping Minnesotans remember to do all those things. They’ve just finished a Click It or Ticket extra enforcement campaign, and officers, deputies and troopers reported 6,771 seat belt citations and 184 child seat violations. They're increasing enforcement of speed limits from July 7-23. And extra enforcement for impaired drivers takes place Aug. 18-Sept. 3. So if you’re thinking about saying goodbye to summer with a few beers, make sure you find a sober ride home.

It’s not just about what you do behind the wheel, though. Your voice is important to your family and friends, so when you see the driver doing something unsafe, speak up. Ask them to put the phone down. Make sure everyone is buckled up before the car moves. Assure them that being a few minutes late won’t matter. And if they’ve had a few drinks, offer them a safe ride home or find someone else who can.

No one climbs into their car to drive to the lake or go camping and thinks, “I’m not going to make it there. I’ll probably get in a car crash and die.” But it happens all too often. So if you keep in mind that your final destination is never guaranteed, it may just help you remember to buckle that seatbelt, put down that phone, find a sober ride, and go the speed limit. Because these 100 days don’t have to be deadly.