ST. PAUL – Law enforcement across Minnesota witnessed disturbing driving behaviors across the state during July’s enhanced speed campaign. The dangerous driving included:
- A motorist stopped for drunk driving and speeding 100 miles per hour (mph) in Dakota County.
- Two motorcyclists clocked going 135 mph in a 55 in Olmsted County.
- A motorcyclist with a suspended license traveling 106 mph in a 65 in Carver County.
- In Perham, a child was in the back seat, not properly restrained, while the driver was traveling 100 mph. Drug paraphernalia was also found in the vehicle.
More than 300 law enforcement agencies participated and officers, deputies and troopers cited 16,410 motorists for unsafe speeds from July 10 - 26; that’s compared with 16,926 speeding tickets during last year’s campaign. There were also 2,101 seat belt citations compared with 2,315 in 2014.
The enhanced enforcement and education efforts are coordinated through the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) with overtime paid through federal dollars received from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Twenty-one agencies cited drivers for traveling 100 mph or more during the 17-day campaign. The top-five speeds reported were:
- 135 mph – Olmsted County Sheriff
- 118 mph – State Patrol District 3200 (Thief River Falls)
- 109 mph – State Patrol District 2900 (Detroit Lakes)
- 108 mph – Cannon Falls Police Department
- 108 mph – Fond Du Lac Police Department
The list of speeding citations by participating agency can be found online.
“Thrill seekers and those just in a hurry to get to their destination need to realize they are not only putting their lives at risk but endangering everyone on the road,” said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director. “Getting to your destination safely is much more important than the few minutes you may save while putting others in harm’s way.”
Dangers and Consequences of Speeding
Speed is the second leading factor in Minnesota road fatalities with 83 lives lost and 213 serious injuries a year that could have been prevented. In the last five years (2010 – 2014), illegal and unsafe speed contributed to 415 deaths and 1,065 serious injuries.
Consequences of Speeding
- 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.
Three Seconds is the Safe Following Distance
Motorists should keep a three-second following distance to allow for safe stopping and reaction to other vehicles. It takes more than the length of a football field to stop when traveling at 60 miles per hour.
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. DPS-OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for 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.
Recent DPS-OTS Activity and Statistics
- Increased fines for repeat texting while driving offenders went into effect August 1. Under the enhanced law, drivers face a $225 fine for second and subsequent violations of the texting while driving law, in addition to the current $50 fine. The $275 fine, plus court fees, can cost an offender more than $300.
- The Minnesota Department of Public Safety recently produced a video about the dangers of distracted driving called: Shattered Dreams: Distracted Driving Changes Lives.
- Minnesota law enforcement officers cited 7,393 motorists for lack of seat belt use from May 18 – 31. That compares to 10,874 seat belt citations during the 2014 campaign.
Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2014
is a summary of traffic crashes derived from law enforcement reports and describes how, why and where crashes occurred and who was involved.
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