​​​​​​Speed survey to give direction as we tackle dangerous driving habits

March 13, 2023

If you want to know how serious the speeding problem is in Minnesota, just go out and drive.

“Our speed-attributed fatalities are well above pre-pandemic numbers, and they're not showing any signs of abating," said Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) Director Mike Hanson. “The speeding problem is endangering every one of us who use those roads as part of our everyday lives."

Text that says "Don't get tagged for speeding" over the image of a body covered with a sheet and a tag on a toe.

The ongoing risk to Minnesotans' lives is clear when you look at the numbers. Last year, preliminary data show that approximately 27 percent of fatalities were speed related. Compare that with 35 percent in 2021 and 31 percent in 2020.

OTS is taking the problem seriously, working with partner agencies to create a speed survey intended to identify factors that contribute to speeding and other risky behaviors. For instance, we're asking:

  • Under what conditions are people more likely to speed?
  • What countermeasures would have the best chance of deterring speeding?
  • What causes people to choose to follow the traffic laws?

We want to take a deep dive into motivations and influences to best determine how to stop people from speeding.

“We really want to learn what the public thinks and to seek their input on the solutions that they think are going to be effective. We're not the only ones with good ideas out there," said Hanson.

The ultimate goal is to get people to voluntarily comply with the posted speed limits for the safety of everyone on the road.

Extreme speed violations are getting more common. In 2022, the Minnesota State Patrol alone wrote more than 1,100 citations for speeds over​ 100 mph. Those kinds of speeds have a critical impact on crash impacts.

“We as human beings cannot defy the law of physics, even if we want to," said Hanson.

The survey was developed by the contracted research firm, M. Davis and Company, in collaboration with Minnesota's Speed Action Team, which includes stakeholders from:

  • The Minnesota departments of Transportation, Health and Public Safety.
  • The Minnesota Safety Council.
  • Law enforcement.
  • The University of Minnesota.
  • Other traffic safety advocates.

After the survey results are in, M. Davis will meet with focus groups for additional input and analyze the results. They will complete their final report this fall. OTS and its traffic safety partners will then use the report to identify ways to help drivers make better decisions behind the wheel.

While the survey will provide valuable input to change deadly speeding decisions, Minnesotans can still take action now to improve traffic safety. Learn more about how you can make safer decisions behind the wheel at DriveSmartMN.org.​​