Slow down, save lives

July speed patrols aim for safer roadways
Star Herald Editorial

Preliminary figures from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety show 202 people have died on Minnesota roads since Jan. 1, compared to 148 last year at this time.

The state reported its 200th traffic death on July 1, the earliest since 2009, and State Patrol Lt. Matt Sorenson said this is unacceptable.

“Most tragedies on the road can be prevented, and we’re working to remind motorists to slow down — for their own benefit and others they share the road with,” said Sorenson, who oversees the 13 southwest Minnesota counties in District 2300.

“Many crashes could have been prevented had drivers not been speeding. Higher rates of speed exacerbate what might have otherwise been near misses, because reaction time is diminished and impacts are more devastating.”

To remind motorists to slow down, the The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) is coordinating extra speed patrols during the month of July.


Recent deaths on Minnesota roads include:

•A 17-year-old male driver who died when he was hit head-on by a speeding vehicle in Polk County.

•A 26-year-old unbelted male driver speeding on a county road in Scott County died when he crashed into a concrete barrier.

•A 44-year-old motorcyclist who was not wearing a helmet was allegedly speeding on a county road in Anoka County when he hit a car making a left turn out of a parking lot driveway. The rider died.

•A 42-year-old motorcyclist riding in Ramsey County died when he ran off the road, hitting a chain-link fence. The rider was allegedly speeding and not wearing a helmet.

The first 202 traffic fatalities include:

•142 motor vehicle occupants compared with 109 reported this time last year.

•26 motorcyclists compared with 18 reported this time last year.

•23 pedestrians compared with 18 reported this time last year.

•Three bicyclists compared with three reported this time last year.


Bad choices lead to tragic results

For the first 202 traffic fatalities, preliminary information shows:

•80 speed-related deaths (40 percent) compared with 49 this time last year (33 percent).

•45 alcohol-related deaths (22 percent) compared with 60 this time last year (28 percent).

•5 distracted-related deaths (2 percent) compared with 9 this time last year (6 percent).

•46 unbelted motorist deaths (32 percent) compared with 37 this time last year (34 percent).

“Exactly halfway through 2021, and I’m at a loss for words. What is it going to take for drivers to understand the importance of driving smart?” asked Mike Hanson, director of the Office of Traffic Safety.

“Two hundred traffic fatalities by July 1 is just unacceptable. You’re at much greater risk of planning a funeral now than in the past because of what’s happening on our roads. We all need to drive smart to help protect each other while out on the roads.”

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