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Office of Communications

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety
 

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NEWS RELEASE

Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
CONTACT:
Scott Wasserman  651-201-7571
scott.wasserman@state.mn.us
Dave Boxum  651-201-7569
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2019
Most Speed-Related Traffic Deaths in a Decade; Extra Enforcement June 18 - July 21

​ST. PAUL – Driving fast and furious is changing lives forever as speed-related fatalities last year climbed above 100 for the first time since 2008.

Preliminary reports show 113 motorists died on Minnesota roads in 2018 in speed-related crashes, the most in a decade.

Speed-Related Traffic Fatalities

 

2008 ​2009 ​2010 ​2011 ​2012 ​2013 ​2014 ​2015 ​2016 ​2017 ​2018
​125 ​85 ​86 ​85 ​74 ​76 ​94 ​78 ​89 ​88 ​113

 

 

To help put the brakes on speed-related deaths, officers, deputies and troopers will work overtime shifts June 18 through July 21. More than 300 agencies will participate in the speed campaign coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS).

“The sunny skies and dry roads are a welcome sight after months of dreary weather in Minnesota. But there’s no summer vacation when it comes to safe driving behaviors behind the wheel,” said Mike Hanson, OTS director. “Going the speed limit and slowing down in construction zones are critical to us all coming home to our loved ones at the end of the day.”

Extra Speed Enforcement

  • During the 100 deadliest days (Memorial Day–Labor Day) in 2018, preliminary numbers show speed played a role in 30 fatalities.
  • During the 100 deadliest days in the past five years (2014-2018), preliminary numbers show that 117 people lost their lives in speed-related crashes.
  • In 2018, speed was a contributing factor in 23 percent of single-vehicle crashes.
  • Cost of a speeding violation will vary by county, but it will typically cost a driver more than $110 with court fees for traveling 10 mph over the limit. Fines double for those traveling 20 mph over the limit and you can lose your license for six months for going 100 mph or more.

Higher Speeds, Bigger Problems

  • Greater potential for loss of vehicle control.
  • Increased stopping distance.
  • Less time for driver response for crash avoidance.
  • Increased crash severity leading to more severe injuries and death.  

If Confronted With an Aggressive Driver:

  • Get out of their way; disengage. Move right, if you are able. 
  • Stay calm — reaching your destination safely is your goal.
  • Do not challenge them.
  • Avoid eye contact.
  • Ignore gestures and don’t return them.
  • Report aggressive driving (vehicle description, license number, location).

Summer Riding Season is Deadly for Motorcyclists 
The summer months tend to be the time when there are a greater number of motorcycle fatalities. Speed is a leading factor in Minnesota single-vehicle motorcycle crashes.

  • Preliminary numbers show 11 motorcyclists have died on Minnesota roads in 2019 compared with 14 last year at this time.
  • Out of the 11 motorcycle deaths in 2019, three riders were wearing helmets.

“Riders need to make sure they’re ready to ride every time they get on their bike,” said Bill Shaffer, Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center Program Coordinator. “That means wearing brightly colored protective gear, riding at safe speeds and taking steps to stay visible to other drivers.”

Share the Road
Riders and motorists need to work together to share the road and make safe decisions to prevent fatalities.

Riders:

  • Wear protective gear, including a DOT-approved helmet. Wearing brightly colored gear helps you stay visible to other drivers, and it’s all that separates you from the road and other vehicles in case of a crash.
  • Take safety into your own hands. Be prepared for inattentive drivers and other unexpected situations on the road. Stay focused on riding and keep your speed in check.
  • Ride sober.
  • Take a training course. Courses are available for beginner to expert riders now through September. They’re an opportunity to polish and learn life-saving maneuvers to keep you safe on the road.

Motorists:

  • Always look twice for motorcyclists before entering a roadway or changing lanes. Motorcycles are smaller, so their speed and distance is difficult to judge.
  • Give riders room to ride, pay attention and drive at safe speeds.

Sober Driving Doesn’t Take a Holiday
The Fourth of July is traditionally one of the worst holidays of the year for drunk driving. On average, 471 drivers will be arrested for DWI and eight motorists will be seriously injured in an alcohol-related crash. With the Fourth of July leading major holidays for DWI arrests per hour, Minnesotans should plan ahead for a sober ride before drinking at the lake or local celebrations.

Holiday DWI Arrests per Hour (2013-2017)

  • Fourth of July – 3.9
  • Labor Day – 3.8
  • St. Patrick’s Day – 3.8
  • Memorial Day – 3.6
  • Thanksgiving – 3.6
  • New Year’s Day – 3.3
  • Christmas – 2.5

“When you are at the lake or celebrating the holiday with friends, it’s easy to lose track of how many drinks you have consumed,” said Lt. Gordon Shank, Minnesota State Patrol. “There’s never a reason to risk getting behind the wheel impaired. If you plan on having even one drink, line up a sober ride. If you see an impaired person about to get behind the wheel, speak up and find them a safe ride home. You could be saving a life.”

Hands-Free Coming Aug. 1
Minnesota’s hands-free law takes effect Aug. 1, but today is the day to go hands-free. For more information about the law and frequently asked questions, go to HandsFreeMN.org.

About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.

About the Office of Traffic Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. DPS-OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for child seats for the needy families program.

DPS-OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety program. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes – education, enforcement, engineering, and emergency medical and trauma response.

About the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center:
The DPS/MMSC provides high-quality rider education, training and licensing to prevent motorcycle crashes and the resulting deaths and injuries. It was created in the early 1980s to address record high motorcyclist fatalities. It’s a component of the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative and supports the goal through on-cycle and classroom rider training courses, awareness campaigns and informational materials.

445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 | dps.mn.gov