A traffic safety crisis that started last year with an alarming number of speed-related traffic deaths is the focus of high visibility speed patrols running May 12-19. The Minnesota State Patrol, sheriffs’ offices and police departments will be patrolling on specific days in targeted regions to stop speeding and aggressive driving from further devastating lives.

Extra patrols will be in Rice, Steele and Goodhue counties on Tuesday.

There are 56 speed-related deaths reported as of May 12 compared with 26 this time last year. The speed-related fatalities are the primary contributor to an overall traffic fatality rate that is far exceeding last year and historical averages. Preliminary figures show 129 people have died in traffic crashes since Jan. 1 compared to 94 at this time in 2020. The last time Minnesota reached 129 fatalities by May 12 was in 2008 when 133 people died on Minnesota roads up to that date.

“Saving dozens more from dying this year is possible if we all just slow down,” said Col. Matt Langer, Chief of the Minnesota State Patrol. “We can all control how fast we are going, and we can all take responsibility when it comes to driving smart. By going the speed limit, you can reduce your risk of crashing and get home to your family at the end of the day.”

High visibility law enforcement patrols may also be active over the weekend to cite speeding and aggressive drivers who recklessly disregard the lives of others on the road.

Troubling increase in speeding citations

State Patrol troopers have issued 25,729 speeding citations through April 29 compared with 24,239 tickets written at this time last year.

Troopers cited 325 motorists for going 100 mph or more through April 29 compared with 306 this time last year.

Traffic Fatality Trajectory Going Wrong Direction

The state reported its 100th traffic death (preliminary) for 2021 on April 21. This is the earliest date reaching the preliminary figure of 100 traffic fatalities in the last six years. The 394 traffic fatalities in 2020 (preliminary) are the most in five years, with speed contributing to 30 percent of all traffic fatalities.

Preliminary reports show 122 motorists died in speed-related crashes in 2020, the most since 2008 (125).

A citation may affect a person’s bank account, driving record or insurance rates, but the resulting change in behavior can be a lifesaver. A speed-related crash can lead to far worse consequences.

The cost of a speeding violation will vary by county, but it will typically cost a driver more than $110 with court fees for traveling 10 mph over the limit. Fines double for those speeding 20 mph over the limit and drivers can lose their license for six months for going 100 mph or more.

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