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Post Date:07/05/2018 4:00 am

After dealing with ice, snow and slick roads, getting behind the wheel during the summer seems a little more relaxing for Minnesota drivers. The problem is that what happens on Minnesota roads during the summer is not so welcoming. Roads are dry, driver speeds go up and so do fatalities. Statewide extra speed enforcement from July 6 – 22 will remind Minnesotans to stay safe by obeying the speed limit and not driving aggressively.

Law enforcement in Clay County are joining police officers, sheriffs’ deputies and troopers from more than 300 agencies statewide to look for speeders jeopardizing the lives of themselves and others. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) coordinates the extra enforcement and education effort. DPS-OTS provides federal overtime funding for law enforcement officers to conduct increased patrols.

Summer and Speed – Make the Safe Choice
Don’t be that driver who acts like the road is his personal racetrack, passes dangerously, and lets others know by tailgating, honking and gesturing that he doesn’t appreciate safe driving choices. That driver and others who think speeding is not a big deal risk more than just a speeding ticket:
• Preliminary numbers show 88 people were killed in speed-related crashes in 2017.
• During the 100 deadliest days (Memorial Day - Labor Day) in 2017, preliminary numbers show speed played a role in 23 fatalities.
• During the 100 deadliest days in the past five years (2013-2017), preliminary numbers show that 108 people lost their lives in speed-related crashes.
• In 2017, speed was a contributing factor in 22 percent of single-vehicle crashes.

Need to Work on Driving Minnesota Nice:
Results are mixed on Minnesotans’ driving behavior. When comparing the five year periods of 2008 - 2012 to 2013 - 2017:
• There has been a 7 percent reduction in speed-related fatalities.
• There has been an 18 percent increase in serious injuries.

Reduce Speed, Reduce Chance of a Crash
• Gives the driver more vehicle control.
• Allows the driver to respond more quickly to road situations.
• Decreases the severity of the impact during a crash.

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, 218.299.5202

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