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Slowing down could save your life (and a whole lot of money)​

June 27, 2019

Trooper uses a radar to record vehicle speed.

Isn’t it nice not to have to worry about snow and ice anymore? It’s fun to drive down a dry road in the sunshine. But it can also give you a false sense of security, leading you to drive over the speed limit. 

Lest you think speeding is a victimless crime, note that 113 motorists died in 2018 on Minnesota roads in speed-related crashes, according to preliminary numbers. That’s the most speed-related traffic deaths we’ve seen in a decade (up from 88 in 2017). Thirty of those fatalities happened over the summer – it’s part of the reason we call the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day the 100 deadliest days.

Maybe you tell yourself you have a reason for speeding – you’re late for work, or it’s just as safe as going the speed limit. But the latter simply isn’t true. When you drive over the speed limit, you’re more likely to lose control of your vehicle, and you increase your stopping distance. You also have less time to react to what other drivers do, which makes it harder to avoid crashes; and that extra speed means a crash you do get into will make the crash more severe for all vehicles and people involved.

But if keeping yourself and others safe on the road doesn’t make you ease up on the gas pedal, perhaps this will: Now through July 21, more than 300 law enforcement agencies are participating in a speed extra enforcement campaign. That means troopers, officers and deputies are working overtime to catch speeders in the hopes of reducing speed-related deaths.

And if they catch you? It varies by county, but generally a speeding violation will cost you $110 plus court fees if you’re 10 mph over the limit. If you’re going 20 mph over, that doubles; and you can say goodbye to your license for six months if you’re driving 100 mph or more. But keep in mind there’s no grace zone for speed. The limit is the limit.

Getting a hefty speeding ticket – or, worse, injuring or killing someone in a speed-related crash – would be a guaranteed way to ruin your summer. So enjoy those dry roads and the beautiful weather, but pay careful attention to the speed limit. Because arriving alive is better than arriving early no matter what season it is.