From: Sgt. Jacalyn Sticha
Minnesota State Patrol
Drive at safe speeds and you won’t find flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Area law enforcement are conducting increased speed patrols July 6 – 21, 2013 to combat a deadly cause of traffic crashes. The special “speed week” enforcement and education effort is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.
Unsafe and illegal speed is the most commonly reported contributing factor in fatal crashes. During 2009–2011, speed was a contributing factor in 54 traffic deaths and 151 serious injuries in southern Minnesota. (SoMN Counties fact sheet attached)
The average fine for a speeding citation is well over $100. Motorists stopped for driving 20 mph over the speed limit face double the fine, and those ticketed traveling more than 100 mph can lose their license for six months.
“As drivers, we can’t put our schedules ahead of other motorists’ safety,” says MSP Lt. Jean Cemensky. “Running late or being in a hurry are not excuses to speed and put other drivers at risk. The posted speed is the speed limit and by following it we can prevent crashes, as well. - Keeping a safe following distance is crucial to our safety.”
Dangers of speeding:
• Increase crash severity and increased injuries.
• Greater potential for loss of vehicle control.
• Decreased reaction time and increased stopping distance.
• Less time available for driver response for crash avoidance.
Motorists traveling at 65 miles per hour compared to 55 mph will save only 1 minute and 41 seconds on a 10 mile trip or shorter since often traffic meets again at stop signs or traffic lights. More than twice as many speed-related fatal crashes occur on rural roads than on major urban roads.
Are you an aggressive driver?
Aggressive driving traits include tailgating, unsafe passing, running red lights and cutting in and out of traffic – all dangerous driving behavior. Motorists confronted by aggressive drivers should get out of their way, stay calm, not engage or challenge them, and avoid eye contact. Call 911 to report aggressive driving and try to describe the vehicle and have the license number if possible. Above all, only make a report if you can do so safely.
Three seconds is the safe following distance
Drivers need to keep a three-second following distance in perfect driving conditions; add additional seconds for poor weather and/or a heavier than average vehicle. A sufficient gap between vehicles will allow time to react and stop safely.
Look twice for motorcyclists
July is the month that has the most motorcyclists on the road. Unsafe speeds are a major factor in rider deaths; more than half of all motorcycle crashes are single-vehicle off the road or crash events. Looking twice for motorcycles is paramount — especially at intersections. Motorcycles are smaller, their speeds and distance can be harder to gauge. Riders need to drive extremely defensively. Motorcycles do not have the passenger safety engineering that passenger cars do.
The Minnesota State Patrol will conduct “speed weeks” through September 2013, as part of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety initiative. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.