OTS Logo

Office of Traffic Safety

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

About OTS


What We Do

 The Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), created in 1966, designs and implements public education and traffic-law enforcement programs with the goal of reducing crashes, deaths and injuries on Minnesota roads by improving driver behavior.
  • Workforce: 21 employees
  • Supports additional workforce personnel in our partnering agencies including: Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Driver and Vehicle Services, Office of Communications and the State Patrol.
  • Anchoring co-chair of the statewide Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety program
  • Administer $16.5 million in annual funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Provide 200 grants to 310 units of government and nonprofit agencies to change behavior related to traffic safety culture.
  • Provide subject matter expertise in critical traffic safety areas.
  • Four Law Enforcement Liaisons
  •  9 Toward Zero Deaths Regional Coordinators
  • Provide research, analysis, and program evaluation to determine project effectiveness, traffic crash causation trends, and to identify emerging challenges.
  • Administer $850,000 in special revenue funding for the statewide Motorcycle Safety Training Program
  • Administers the CPS special revenue account, which funds the statewide Child Passenger Safety and Occupant Restraint program.  This program provides education and outreach as well as child restraint systems (child seats) for community members in need.

Who We Are

OTS Director Mike Hanson:Mike Hanson
Mike Hanson joined the Office of Traffic Safety as director in November of 2017.

Director Hanson served 32 years in the Minnesota State Patrol, working in both Greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities before retiring with the rank of captain.

Director Hanson is passionate about protecting Minnesotans on the road and has dedicated his life to improving traffic safety in the state.

In addition to his role as director, Hanson also:
  • serves as the Governor's Representative to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  • coordinates Minnesota’s participation in the NHTSA State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program.
  • co-chairs the Minnesota TZD program.

Our Role as a leader in improving traffic safety for all Minnesotans:
The Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) provides statewide leadership, guidance, resources, policy development, and support for all aspects of traffic safety in Minnesota. OTS accomplishes this by supporting agencies and projects that prevent traffic fatalities and serious injuries by changing driver behavior and fostering a culture of safety on all Minnesota roads. Our programs serve all Minnesota citizens, local units of government, nonprofit agencies, and our fellow state government agencies and divisions. OTS provides leadership for the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) program in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Minnesota Department of Health.

OTS provides research, planning, oversight and management for federally funded traffic safety programs that support public education and outreach, traffic enforcement, policy development, and community traffic safety programs.  OTS accomplishes this mission through close collaborative partnerships with the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Driver and Vehicle Services Division, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Office of Communications, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Minnesota Department of Health, county and municipal governments, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and traffic safety advocate organizations including AAA Minnesota, the Minnesota Safety Council, MADD, and Minnesotans for Safe Driving.

Our Partners

OTS gathers input from other traffic safety stakeholders, including these agencies, advisory boards and networks:

  • Child Passenger Safety Taskforce
  • Courts
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Law enforcement liaisons
  • MADD
  • Minnesota DWI Task Force
  • Minnesotans for Safe Driving
  • Minnesota Motorcycle Advisory Taskforce​
  • Network of Employers for Traffic Safety Traffic Records Coordinating Committee


Facts and Figures

OTS was created in response to the federal Highway Safety Act of 1966. Under the act, states became eligible for federal assistance for state and community highway safety programs. Despite improvements in driver behaviors, vehicle design, roadway engineering, and enforcement strategies since that time, traffic crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for Minnesotans ages 1-34.
In 2004, OTS in partnership with the Minnesota Departments of Transportation and Health developed the state’s cornerstone traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) 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 trauma care.
​OTS Traffic Statistics ​2014-2018 (Average) ​2019
​Traffic Fatalities ​381 ​364
​Unbelted Fatalities ​90 ​73
​Alcohol-Related Fatalities ​121 ​114
​Distracted-Related Fatalities ​46 ​34
Speed-Related Fatalities ​ ​92 ​75

Percentage of motorists observed wearing seat belts during statewide

 observational seat belt survey​

​92.4% ​93.4%
Child safety seats distributed to needy families​ ​1,460 ​1,250