A Message from Safe Communities of Wright County
As the weather heats up, so do speeds. We all know that traveling faster gives you less time to react to hazards and makes maneuvering more difficult, but did you know that increased speeds create longer stopping distances? It takes more than the length of a football field to stop when traveling at 60 miles per hour. No matter how advanced you think your driving skills may be, speeding is dangerous.
Danger and tragedy can lurk behind the wheel during the 100 most-traveled days of the year, the weeks bookended by Memorial Day and Labor Day. Whether headed out for work or fun, too many drivers are packing bad habits like record levels of excessive speed, aggressive behavior and distracted driving. The result has been deadly. In 2021, 43,000 people died in U.S. highway crashes, with 488 of those in Minnesota, up 25 percent from 2020.
Reduce Speed. Reduce Chance of a Crash.
- Gives the driver more vehicle control.
- Allows the driver to respond more quickly to road situations.
- Decreases the severity of the impact during a crash.
Posted speed limits aren’t suggestions – they are there to keep drivers and passengers safe. We can all do our part to be sure that everyone makes it home this holiday weekend.
You Speed, You Crash
While getting a ticket may be a primary concern when exceeding the speed limit, drivers should worry about far more dangerous consequences:
- In 2021, 166 motorists died in speed-related crashes (preliminary), the most since 2003 (195).
- During the 100 deadliest days (Memorial Day to Labor Day) in the past five years (2017-2021), preliminary numbers show that 196 people lost their lives in speed-related crashes.
- Speed contributed to an average of 82 deaths per year from 2012-16, but an average of 113 deaths per year from 2017-21.
Through June 12, preliminary numbers show Speed-related deaths are 42 percent less than at this time last year, but 11 percent more than in 2020, and 68 percent more than in 2019.
- 42 in 2022
- 72 in 2021
- 38 in 2020
- 25 in 2019
- 46 in 2018
- 39 in 2017
The 488 Minnesota traffic fatalities in 2021 (preliminary) are the most since 2007 (510), with speed contributing to 34 percent of those fatalities.
Minnesota Speed-Related Traffic Fatalities
2011 (85); 2012 (74); 2013 (76); 2014 (94); 2015 (78); 2016 (89); 2017 (88); 2019 (75); 2020 (122); 2021 (166). The Minnesota State Patrol cited 35,428 motorists for speeding through June 3 of this year with 501 tickets written for speeds of 100 mph or more.
Summer and Speed – Make the Safe Choice
- 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
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 five-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).