News Flash

Wright County News

Posted on: July 1, 2020

Safe Communities of Wright County Has Message About the Dangers of Speeding

A message from Virgil Hawkins, Wright County Highway Engineer/Safe Communities of Wright County Board Member

You may have noticed extra law enforcement on the roads recently. They are working extra speed patrols for those motorists who drive above the speed limit (either posted speed or too fast for conditions). With the reduced traffic the last several months (due to the COVID-19 Pandemic), it would seem the risk of speeding would be reduced. Unfortunately, many drivers have chosen to use the open roads as a license to speed.

Speeding Incidents are on the Rise…

Excessive speeding over the recent months is troubling and requires Minnesotans to commit to slowing down this summer

  • From April 1 to May 21, the Minnesota State Patrol pulled over 232 drivers traveling more than 100 mph. That’s compared to 93 drivers pulled over during the same period last year – so a 149% increase! Of the 232 drivers, 179 (77%) were 30 years old or younger

  • Overall fatal crashes and fatalities from March 16 to May 31 increased over last year despite the reduced traffic volumes

  • While a crash can have more than one contributing factor, speed was the most frequently cited factor

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) considers a crash to be speeding-related if any driver in the crash was charged with a speeding-related offense or if a police officer indicated that racing, driving too fast for conditions, or exceeding the posted speed limit was a contributing factor in the crash.

Summer and Speed – Make the Safe Choice

Drivers who think speeding is not a big deal risk more than just a speeding ticket:

  • During the 100 most traveled days (Memorial Day to Labor Day) in 2019, preliminary numbers show speed played a role in 31 fatalities

  • During the 100 most traveled days in the past five years (2015-2019), preliminary numbers show that 125 people lost their lives in speed-related crashes

  • In 2019, speed was a contributing factor in 26% of single-vehicle crashes

Consequences

  • Citations could cost $100 or more, plus court fees

  • Increased insurance premium costs

  • A motor vehicle crash involving speed could result in criminal/civil penalties

Higher Speeds, Bigger Problems

  • Greater potential for loss of vehicle control

  • Increased stopping distance

  • Less time for driver response for crash avoidance

  • Increased crash severity leading to more severe injuries and deaths

If confronted with a speeding/aggressive driver it is recommended to do the following:

  • Get out of their way, disengage. Move to the right if you are able

  • Stay calm – reaching your destination is your goal

  • Do not challenge them

  • Avoid eye contact

  • Ignore gestures and don’t return them

  • Report aggressive/speeding driving (vehicle description, license number, location)

Drivers need to plan trips in advance – allow the time necessary to arrive at your destination safely and on time. The minimal time gained while speeding could have life-long consequences. Consider this – a motorist traveling at 55 miles per hour compared to 45 miles per hour will save only 1 minute and 13 seconds on a 5-mile trip!

Speeding is also tied to aggressive driving, such as tailgating, abrupt lane changes and red-light running. These behaviors are not only unnecessary but speak to a troubling culture on our roads where people put their schedules ahead of everyone else’s safety.

The tragedies that occur because of speeding motorists are simply preventable. These deaths and severe injuries do not have to happen. Help us drive Minnesota towards zero deaths by driving at safe speeds. Remember that the speed limit is either the posted speed or the speed that is safe for conditions (in cases of inclement weather slow down).

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