Extra enforcement campaign aims to stop deadly speeding crisis

Star Herald Editorial

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) on Monday announced an extra speed enforcement and awareness campaign.

Motorists can face serious penalties and lose driving privileges for choices that destroy lives, including losing their license for six months for speeding 100 mph or more.

DPS is collaborating with the Minnesota departments of Health and Transportation on the enforcement and awareness campaign.

The three state agencies are the anchoring partners of the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) coalition that works to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and deaths on Minnesota roads.

DPS-OTS is coordinating the statewide campaign, which includes initial funding of $1 million from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

State officials warn the speeding crisis that claimed the most lives last year in speed-related crashes since 2008 must stop – now – to prevent further carnage.

Preliminary reports show 120 motorists died in speed-related crashes in 2020, the most since 2008 (125).

Overall, the 397 traffic fatalities in 2020 are the most in five years, with speed making up 30 percent of all fatalities last year.

The Minnesota State Patrol issued more than 1,000 speeding tickets for speeds of 100 mph or more in 2020 compared with 533 tickets for those excessive speeds in 2019.

The risks of breaking the law and traveling 10, 20 or 30 mph or more over the speed limit include:

•Greater potential for losing control of the vehicle.

•Increased stopping time and distance.

•Increased crash severity leading to more serious injuries and fatalities.

Speed was a primary contributor in the jump from 364 traffic deaths on Minnesota roads in 2019 to the preliminary figure of 397 in 2020. Last year was also the deadliest year on Minnesota roads since 2015 when 411 people died.

Minnesotans are being asked to drive smart and slow down.

During the statewide campaign, drivers who continue to treat the roadway like a raceway can expect to be stopped. No excuses.

Driving is a privilege, not a right.

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