The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has announced that there will be increased enforcement of speeding on Minnesota highways over the next several weeks after 2020 data produced some startling results.
Preliminary data from 2020 showed that 120 motorists died in speed-related crashes – the most since 2008. The 397 traffic fatalities in 2020 was the highest number in five years and it was determined that speeding was the contributing factor in 30 percent of traffic fatalities and, through the first month of 2021, the pace of speed-related fatalities is keeping pace with the numbers from 2020.
Minnesota DPS has received initial funding of $1 million from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to pay for additional speed-centric enforcement with the Minnesota State Patrol, county sheriff’s offices and local police departments.
“We’re taking a multi-agency, concerted effort with law enforcement and traffic safety partners statewide because speeding is the one bad decision that makes every other driving mistake worse,” said Mike Hanson, Director of the Office of Traffic Safety. “Too often we see crashes from distracted or impaired driving where speed turns a minor crash into a fatal or life-changing event for those involved. We all need to drive smart by going the speed limit or driving to the conditions of the road, especially in the winter. If we all do our part, we can get home safely to our families at the end of the day.”
Part of the blame for the spike in speeding has been pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the lockdown stages of COVID last spring, traffic was reduced on Minnesota highways considerably. Typically long commutes became much shorter due to lack of traffic and many drivers felt immune from the speed limit restrictions.
How pronounced was the change in excessive speeding? In 2019, there were 533 citations written for motorists driving more than 100 miles per hour. In 2020, there were 1,068 tickets written for driving 100 mph or more with a top speed recorded of 153 mph.
To see the DPS release and data related to age of drivers topping 100 mph, click here: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ooc/news-releases/Pages/Statewide-extra-speed-enforcement.aspx