Blog Archive: October 2020

A state trooper standing by a squad car

Want to keep Minnesota roads safe? Join the State Patrol.

Oct. 29

It’s easy to get frustrated when you look at the loss of life so far this year on Minnesota’s roads. Preliminary numbers show 320 deaths as of Oct. 26 compared to 299 at the same time last year. If you buckle up, drive sober, keep distractions away and obey the speed limit, and still wish there was more you can do, well…there is. You can join the Minnesota State Patrol. The State Patrol is currently accepting applications through Nov. 15. And although they’re accepting people currently in law enforcement or those with a law enforcement degree, you don’t have to have law enforcement...

300 empty chairs that represent Minnesota traffic fatalities

Don’t deny this grieving mother’s request

Oct. 26

The chairs stretch off into the distance of an empty field – rows and rows of them. They look innocent enough, with snow falling gently on their black surfaces, and you wonder what they’re there for. A wedding, perhaps? Some sort of graduation? But their true purpose isn’t one of celebration, but of tragedy: Each of the over 300 chairs represents a person who has died on Minnesota roads so far this year. Three hundred empty chairs. Three hundred lives cut short. Thousands of broken hearts. Sarah Delaney steps up to the podium in front of this haunting display and struggles for composure...

Bill Shaffer sitting on his motorcycle

5 deer safety lessons learned from a motorcycle crash

Oct. 22

Some of the beautiful fall leaves are still hanging around here in Minnesota, but now they’re covered in the season’s first snow. Still, you may be hoping it all melts away, so you can enjoy more of the riding season before packing up your motorcycle for the winter. Whether your next ride is this weekend or next April, it’s important to keep deer safety top-of-mind. Just ask Bill Shaffer, coordinator of the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC). Last year, Bill had serious motorcycle crash involving a deer. Fortunately, he lived to tell the tale, and he came away with some important lessons...

Two children crossing a street after exiting a school bus

School bus safety isn’t just for National School Bus Safety Week

Oct. 19

If you think about it, there really shouldn’t have to be a week dedicated to school bus safety. After all, children are safer in a school bus than in any other vehicle, despite the fact that school buses in Minnesota make about 10,000 trips a day. And yet, drivers still make poor decisions around school buses, so there’s a week (Oct. 19-23) to remind them of the safe driving behaviors they should engage in all year long. Part of the issue is that, although children are safe on the bus itself, they need to be safe...

A dispatcher at a Public Safety Answering Point

How to get the help you need despite a 911 outage

Oct. 15

If you had an emergency on the night of Sept. 28 and tried to call 911 for help, it’s possible you couldn’t get through for about one hour and 17 minutes. Because of a multi-state outage of the 911 system, at least 1,187 calls to 64 Minnesota public safety answering points (PSAPs), or 911 dispatch centers, failed to be routed. The outage affected six other states including Arizona, Colorado, North Dakota, North Carolina, South Dakota and Utah. No matter the reason for the outage, The Minnesota Department of Public Safety division of Emergency Communication Networks...

A computer screen showing online knowledge test request process

Now you can take the class D knowledge test online

Oct. 12

If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that COVID-19 affects almost every aspect of our lives: work, school, socializing, even getting your driver’s license. Fortunately, people are coming up with creative ways to overcome some of those hurdles. Take the Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DPS-DVS), for example. They worked with various partners and members of the public so that Minnesotans can now take their class D knowledge tests online. This is possible because of legislation signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz. This online option will allow...

A woman looking through a window

Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate – but there’s help

Oct. 8

Even here in Minnesota, victims of domestic violence – and their abusers – come from all kinds of demographics. They can be male or female, young or old, gay or straight. They can be any race, any religion. Rich or poor; any level of education; married, living together or dating: Anyone can have their lives altered and even destroyed by domestic violence. The number of women who have experienced domestic and/or sexual violence in Minnesota could fill Target field 17 times. Each year, more than 65,000 adults receive domestic violence services – but less than 50 percent of people...

A stovetop fire

Find ‘One Thing’ for Kitchen Fire Safety

Oct. 5

Thinking about fire safety – especially in the kitchen – can be overwhelming. Do I have a lid in case a grease fire starts? What exactly do I do if there is a grease fire? Are all my towels and potholders far enough away from the stove? One aspect of it alone can produce so many questions, it may be tempting to do nothing at all. That’s why the State Fire Marshal Division (SFMD) is encouraging everyone to focus on just “one thing” in the kitchen. It’s the SFMD’s way of observing this year’s Fire Prevention Week, whose theme is “Serve Up Safety in the Kitchen.” ...

Minnesota REAL ID driver's license

REAL ID and license renewal: There's still time

Oct. 1

We can all agree that 2020 has been a challenging year for various reasons. So it’s possible you haven’t had time (or haven’t been able) to visit a deputy registrar or driver’s license agent office and renew your driver’s license, let alone apply for your REAL ID. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security understands that. You may recall that the deadline for REAL ID was supposed to be Oct. 1, 2020; but then COVID-19 happened, offices temporarily closed and federal officials recognized people may not be able to apply in person for a REAL ID. The new, extended deadline is...