ST. PAUL – “I didn’t know I was speeding.” “There must be something wrong with my speedometer.” “I’m not from around here.” Law enforcement officers have heard all kinds of excuses from speeders, and they’ll probably hear many more July 10-27. That’s when nearly 400 Minnesota law enforcement agencies will increase patrols to combat traffic crashes, deaths and serious injuries caused by illegal and unsafe speeding.
Speed is a leading contributing factor in fatal and serious injury crashes, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety/Office of Traffic Safety (DPS/OTS). In the last three years (2011-2013), illegal and unsafe speed was attributed to 212 fatal crashes, 235 deaths and 666 serious injuries. In many crashes, additional factors such as alcohol and distraction often combine with speeding to wreck cars and lives.
“Far too many motorists ignore speed limits and put all of our lives at risk on the road by speeding,” said Donna Berger, OTS director. “There’s greater potential to lose control, you have less time to avoid a crash, and the chances are higher of being killed or seriously injured.”
Data shows that speeding doesn’t save much time. Traveling at 55 mph versus 45 mph for a 10-mile journey only shaves off about two and one-half minutes of travel time.
Minnesota recognizes July 12 as Statewide Speed Enforcement Day, and drivers will notice increased attention from law enforcement as all agencies across the state will be specifically targeting speeding violations. An enhanced enforcement for speed campaign also was conducted June 16-20 because data shows the summer months are the deadliest on our roads.
- Every driver must drive at a speed that is reasonable and prudent for the conditions.
- Motorists must be aware of actual and potential hazards on the highway and use due care in operating a vehicle.
Costs of speeding violations vary by county but typically ramp up to at least $120 for traveling 10 mph over the limit. Motorists stopped at 20 mph over the speed limit face double the fine, and those ticketed at more than 100 mph can lose their license for six months.
About the Minnesota Department 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
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. OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.
OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths
(TZD) traffic safety initiative.
Recent OTS Activity and Statistics
- To-date, there have been 155 traffic deaths, four fewer than this time last year.
- Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2013 is a summary of last year’s traffic crashes, derived from law enforcement reports and describes how, why and where crashes occurred and who was involved.
- The May 19-June 1 Click It or Ticket campaign reported 10,874 seat belt citations and 279 child restraint tickets from 329 law enforcement agencies.
- Final reports on enhanced enforcement for distracted driving during April 11-20 reported 827 texting citations from 308 law enforcement agencies.
- In a continuing effort to advance traffic safety in Minnesota, DPS awarded new federal grants totaling more than $8.5 million for regional partners to support overtime traffic safety enforcement and educational efforts through September 2014.
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