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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
dave.boxum@state.mn.us
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2021
High Visibility Speed Patrols Focus on Preventing Tragedy During May 12-19 Traffic Safety Campaign
Speed-related traffic fatalities outpacing last year and contributing to higher number of traffic deaths year-to-date than 2020

ST. PAUL –A traffic safety crisis that started last year with an alarming number of speed-related traffic deaths is the focus of high visibility speed patrols running May 12-19. The Minnesota State Patrol, sheriffs’ offices and police departments will be patrolling on specific days in targeted regions to stop speeding and aggressive driving from further devastating lives. 

There are 56 speed-related deaths reported as of May 12 compared with 26 this time last year. The speed-related fatalities are the primary contributor to an overall traffic fatality rate that is far exceeding last year and historical averages. Preliminary figures show 129 people have died in traffic crashes since Jan. 1 compared to 94 at this time in 2020. The last time Minnesota reached 129 fatalities by May 12 was in 2008 when 133 people died on Minnesota roads up to that date.

“Saving dozens more from dying this year is possible if we all just slow down,” said Col. Matt Langer, Chief of the Minnesota State Patrol. “We can all control how fast we are going, and we can all take responsibility when it comes to driving smart. By going the speed limit, you can reduce your risk of crashing and get home to your family at the end of the day.” 

Daily Focus by Region to Prevent Tragedy
State Patrol districts across Minnesota will dedicate specific days to high visibility speed and aggressive driving patrols starting Wednesday, May 12. They will be teaming up with law enforcement agencies in their region and across Minnesota. The regional focus areas for each day are

Date​
​Minnesota State Patrol District
​Wednesday, May 12
​Marshall region (District 2300) includes Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rock and Yellow Medicine counties.
​Thursday, May 13
​Duluth region (District 2700) includes Carlton, Cook, Lake, Pine and St. Louis counties.
​Thursday, May 13
​Thief River Falls region (District 3200) includes Beltrami, Clearwater, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau counties.
​Friday, May 14
​St. Cloud region (District 2600) includes Benton, Big Stone, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Pope, Sherburne, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse and Wright counties.
​Friday, May 14
​Detroit Lakes region (District 2900) includes Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Mahnomen, Norman, Otter Tail, Todd, Wadena and Wilkin counties.
​Monday, May 17
​East Twin Cities Metro region (District 2400) includes Anoka, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties.
​Monday, May 17
​West Twin Cities Metro region (District 2500) includes Anoka, Carver, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey and Scott counties. 
​Tuesday, May 18
​Rochester region (District 2100) includes Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha and Winona counties.
​Tuesday, May 18

​Virginia region (District 3100) includes Itasca, Koochiching and St. Louis counties.
​Wednesday, May 19

​Mankato region (District 2200) includes Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Le Sueur, Martin, McLeod, Nicollet, Sibley, Waseca and Watonwan counties.
​Wednesday, May 19
​Brainerd region (District 2800) includes Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Kanabec, Mille Lacs and Morrison counties.


High visibility law enforcement patrols may also be active over the weekend to cite speeding and aggressive drivers who recklessly disregard the lives of others on the road.

Troubling Increase in Speeding Citations 
  • State Patrol troopers have issued 25,729 speeding citations through April 29 compared with 24,239 tickets written at this time last year.
  • Troopers cited 325 motorists for going 100 mph or more through April 29 compared with 306 this time last year.
Traffic Fatality Trajectory Going Wrong Direction
The state reported its 100th traffic death (preliminary) for 2021 on April 21. This is the earliest date reaching the preliminary figure of 100 traffic fatalities in the last six years. The 394 traffic fatalities in 2020 (preliminary) are the most in five years, with speed contributing to 30 percent of all traffic fatalities.

Preliminary reports show 122 motorists died in speed-related crashes in 2020, the most since 2008 (125). 

Speed-Related Traffic Fatalities
20102011201220132014201520162017201820192020
868574769478898811375122

Recent Speed-Related Traffic Deaths
  • A 35-year-old male motorcyclist not wearing a helmet, who was driving 79 mph in a 55 mph zone. He ran off the road in McLeod County. Drug use is suspected. 
  • A 29-year-old male driver going 80 mph in a 30 mph zone on a Cass County road. He ran off the road, hit an embankment and overturned multiple times. Alcohol and drugs are suspected. 
  • A 52-year-old motorcyclist not wearing a helmet was driving 60 mph in a 40 mph zone on a Stearns County road. He ran off the road at a curve and hit mailboxes and a fence.  
  • A 23-year-old male motorcyclist, traveling around 70 mph in a 45 mph zone in Red Wing hit a curb, causing the bike to break up, ejecting the rider. 
Drive Smart: Avoid Speeding Risks 
  • Greater potential for loss of vehicle control.
  • Increased stopping time and distance.
  • Increased crash severity leading to more serious injuries and death.
A Costly Choice
  • A citation may affect a person’s bank account, driving record or insurance rates, but the resulting change in behavior can be a lifesaver. A speed-related crash can lead to far worse consequences.
  • The 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 speeding 20 mph over the limit and drivers can lose their license for six months for going 100 mph or more.
​Resources:
DriveSmartMN.org

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
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. These efforts form a strong foundation for the statewide Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety program. DPS-OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.



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