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SUNNY SKIES AND SPEED — A DANGEROUS COMBINATION
Minnesotans who think clear skies, dry conditions and country roads mean higher speeds are less risky need to reconsider that thought. Crash statistics tell a different story, and statewide extra speed enforcement from July 7 – 23 will remind Minnesotans to slow down and stay safe.
Law enforcement agencies in Clay County are joining police officers, sheriffs’ deputies and troopers from more than 300 agencies statewide to look for speeders. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) coordinates the extra enforcement and education efforts. DPS-OTS provides federal funding for law enforcement to work overtime hours conducting increased patrols.
You Speed, You Crash
While getting a ticket may be a primary concern for drivers exceeding the speed limit, they should worry about far more dangerous consequences:
• In single-vehicle crashes in 2015, Minnesota statistics show that illegal or unsafe speed was the most common contributing factor.
• During the 100 deadliest days in the past five years (2012-2016), preliminary numbers show that 109 people lost their lives in speed-related crashes.
• Fatal crashes overall tend to occur on rural area roads that permit high speeds and do not have interstate-type safety designs.
• In 2015, the highest numbers of fatal crashes, traffic fatalities, injuries and overall crashes took place on two lane roads (one lane each way).
Slowing Down a Positive Trend
Minnesota statistics show drivers are slowing down and being less aggressive. When comparing the five year periods of 2006 – 2010 and 2011 – 2015:
• There has been a 28 percent reduction in speed-related fatalities.
• There has been a 32 percent decrease in speed-related serious injuries.
• 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.
Count to Three
• 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.
Extra speed enforcement and education efforts are part of the state’s 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 medical and trauma response.
Lt. Deric Swenson 299.5202