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Blog Archive: January 2020

What's your sober game plan? with drinks and snacks on a football field background

Shanahan and Reid have Super Bowl game plans, and so should you

Jan. 30

It’s no fun to sit at home by yourself and watch the Super Bowl. Much better to have a bunch of friends over or go out to a bar or a friend’s house to watch the Big Game. Some snacks, some drinks, some cheering and booing all make for a great day. So don’t spoil it by getting a DWI or, worse, getting into a crash that causes injury or death to you or someone else. Averages for the 10-year period from 2008 to 2017 show 186 people in Minnesota get DWIs over Super Bowl weekend, and impairment is a factor...

A motorcycle show visitor looks at a brochure with a staff member at the MMSC booth

Come see us at the International Motorcycle Show!

Jan. 27

If you’re wishing you could fast-forward to spring so that you can kick the winter blues and get back on your motorcycle, you’re not alone. But the next best thing to riding down the road on your bike is hanging out with people who love motorcycles as much as you do. You can find them at the International Motorcycle Show in Minneapolis. The show takes place Jan.31-Feb. 2 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, and the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) will be there to talk motorcycle training and safety. We’ll have a booth at the show each day...

Several rescued travelers file out of a National Guard SUS-V to take shelter in an armory during the February 2019 snowstorm in southern Minnesota

A shovel is not enough: Winter survival on Minnesota’s roads

Jan. 16

Congratulations! You’ve made it through November, December and half of January, and the winter weather has been fairly reasonable. But if the forecast is any indicator, winter definitely isn’t over yet. Now would be a bad time to let your guard down, especially where winter driving is concerned. Take Feb. 24 and 25, 2019, for example. The dates themselves may not ring a bell, but surely you remember the southern half of our state getting pummeled by a winter storm. In some areas, 13 inches of snow fell, and winds gusted up to 50 mph. Large swaths of interstates and other roads were...

A lab technician carrying a tray of samples to a machine

How robots help solve crimes

Jan. 13

So much of life is a choice between speed and quality, isn’t it? In just about any category – construction, food, clothing, just to name a few – it can generally be either fast or good, but not both. The same used to go for forensic testing and crime investigation. But the field of robotics has changed that situation drastically. Just look at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s (BCA) forensics labs. When investigators are trying to solve a crime, there can be so much to analyze. Everything from blood samples to unknown substances need to be examined in case they contain the clue...

A motorcycle rider going through a training course as a rider coach watches

How to pass the time until motorcycle season

Jan. 9

Do you miss riding your motorcycle? Do you find yourself counting the days until the weather warms up and the roads dry off? Maybe you’re already planning this summer’s road trip or deciding which charity rides to do. While you’re at it, you can start planning for training, because Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) rider training courses are open for registration at most sites statewide. “But I’ve been riding for years,” you might say. “Why should I take a training course now?” Taking a training course every year or two helps you keep your skills sharp and even learn new ones...

A house window damaged by fire and smoke

To prevent fire deaths, we must study them

Jan. 6

The beginning of a new year is a time to reflect on the past year and plan for the new one – hopefully to think about what we can improve upon, then make a plan to do just that in the coming year. For the State Fire Marshal Division (SFMD), unfortunately, this means thinking about deaths, specifically fire deaths. Right now, for example, SFMD is totaling up the number of people who died in structure fires in Minnesota in 2019, and have come to a distressing conclusion: Preliminary numbers show that 42 people died in fires in 2019. That’s up 14 percent over 2018, when there were 37 fire deaths...

A semi driving by a stopped state patrol squad car on a highway

How to share the road with trucks

Jan. 2

A lot of us had trouble with math and physics in school. Some of us didn’t even take physics in the first place. So we wouldn’t necessarily know that, in ideal conditions, an 80,000-pound vehicle traveling at 55 miles per hour needs 335 feet (that’s more than a football field) to stop. Crank the speed up to 65 miles per hour and that truck will need 525 feet to stop. But knowing that can save lives. Why? Because if you pull out in front of that semi on, say, a county highway without giving it enough room, it doesn’t matter how alert that driver is. It doesn’t matter how quick their reflexes are or how recently...