ST. PAUL (June 16, 2014) — School is out, summer is here, and speed limit enforcement in Minnesota is heating up.
During the summer, there are typically more than 900 crashes involving teen drivers each month, and illegal and unsafe speed has been one of the top three contributing factors in these crashes.
Nearly 400 Minnesota law enforcement agencies will increase patrols June 16-20 to combat traffic crashes, deaths and serious injuries caused by speeding, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety/Office of Traffic Safety (DPS/OTS).
“Summer is the deadliest season on our roads and there are far too many motorists speeding, driving aggressively and putting their lives and the lives of others in danger,” said Donna Berger, OTS director. “Law enforcement has heard every excuse for speeding. It’s time to stop the excuses, slow down and get you, your friends and family safely to your destination.”
Speed was a factor in 213 fatal crashes in the last three years (2011-2013), causing 235 fatalities and 666 serious injuries.
In addition to putting other motorists at risk, speeding:
• Increases the potential for loss of vehicle control.
• Requires greater stopping distance – it takes more than the length of a football field to stop when traveling 60 mph.
• Decreases the time available for driver response and crash avoidance.
• Increases crash severity – the faster the speed, the more violent the crash.
A similar enhanced enforcement and education campaign for speed also will run statewide July 10-27.
The Minnesota statute on speed limits requires motorists to drive with due care:
• Every driver must drive at a speed that is reasonable and prudent for the conditions.
• Motorists must be aware of actual and potential hazards on the highway and use due care in operating a vehicle.
Driving at least 20 mph over the speed limit doubles the fine and those ticketed at more than 100 mph can lose their license for six months.
If confronted by a speeding or aggressive driver:
• Get out of their way.
• Do not challenge the other driver.
• Avoid eye contact.
• Ignore gestures and don’t return them.
• Find a safe place to call 911 to report aggressive driving. Be prepared to offer the vehicle description, license number and location.
• Always buckle up to maintain proper seating position in case of abrupt driving maneuvers.
In addition, motorists should keep a three-second following distance to allow for safe stopping and reaction to other vehicles.
To-date, there have been 129 traffic deaths, four less than this time last year.