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Making your road safe, wherever it leads

May 31, 2018

Traffic on a highway

Summer’s here, and the open road is calling. Where does yours lead? A quaint little cabin by the lake? Grandma’s house, to drop off the kids? Down to the Cities to see a concert?

The 100 days from Memorial Day through Labor Day are most people’s best opportunity for a road trip. Unfortunately, they’re also the most dangerous. In fact, they’re referred to as the 100 deadliest days on Minnesota’s roads. Because even though that period only accounts for about a quarter of the year,  over a third of traffic deaths tend to occur during it. Preliminary numbers for 2017, for example, show that 121 of the year’s 358 traffic fatalities happened during this 100-day stretch—that’s 34 percent.

It’s not just the increased volume of vehicles on Minnesota’s roads that make these 100 days so deadly; it’s the drivers’ behaviors. Speed, distraction, lack of seatbelt use and drunk driving continue lead the way in fatal and serious motor vehicle crashes.

That’s why the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is working with more than 300 law enforcement agencies across the state to conduct extra enforcement campaigns throughout the summer.

Extra enforcement for speeding will take place July 6-22, so keep an eye on that speedometer and always drive at speeds appropriate for the weather conditions. And on August 17, the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign begins, when extra patrols will be out looking for drunk drivers through September 2. A Click It or Ticket campaign already took place from May 21 to June 3.

The aim is for Minnesota law enforcement to stay extra vigilant so that you can arrive safely at your destination. It’s never guaranteed, but by buckling your seatbelt, putting the phone down, driving sober and obeying the speed limit, you can increase the chances that your open road will lead to summer fun instead of tragedy.