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Don't make 2020 worse by speeding

June 29, 2020

We can all agree that 2020 has been a pretty rough year, with the tragic effects of the pandemic and the disruption to so many lives, jobs and activities. So you’d think everyone would be doing everything they can to avoid making it worse. Not so for the 232 drivers pulled over by the Minnesota State Patrol from April 1 through May 21 for going over 100 mph. Considering that not a single person should be going that fast, 232 is a staggering number.

It's a freeway, not a raceway. Extra enforcement now. Drive Smart“But traffic volumes were so low during the stay at home order, who cares if anyone was speeding?” The answer is the families and friends of the people who died in crashes during that time, and speed was the most frequently cited factor. There were more fatal crashes and fatalities from March 16 through May 31 than during the same period in 2019, when traffic volumes were much higher.

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.

And if you cause a crash, then what? You and anyone in the other vehicle will likely need medical attention, meaning you’d be taking up valuable resources. Those hospital beds and medical supplies need to be available for COVID-19 patients and other people who need care, not taken up because of careless decisions on the road.

But if keeping yourself and others safe on the road or conserving valuable resources doesn’t make you ease up on the gas pedal, perhaps this will: Now through July 19, Minnesota law enforcement agencies and traffic safety partners 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 life-changing injuries.

And if they catch you speeding? 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 make an already difficult year that much worse for everyone involved. So drive smart and pay careful attention to the speed limit. Because arriving alive is better than not arriving at all.