253 cited at over 90 mph; Wadena Sheriff nabs driver at 178 mph

Published 1:54 pm Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ST. PAUL — A statewide, July-long extra enforcement of illegal and unsafe speed resulted in 27,638 motorists ticketed. The campaign was coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety. Each year, illegal and unsafe speeding factors in around 130 deaths annually — about 70 percent of which occur in rural areas.

During the July enforcement, participating agencies ticketed 253 drivers for traveling over 90 mph, of which 26 were traveling over 100 mph. The agencies that ticketed the highest speeds:

· Wadena County Sheriff’s Office — 178 mph (speed was self-reported by vehicle’s passenger).

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· Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office — 128 mph.

· Lakeville Police Department — 109 mph.

· Carver County Sheriff’s Office — 107 mph.

· Douglas County Sheriff’s Office — 106 mph.

· Wayzata Police Department — 105 mph.

· Minnetonka Police Department —104 mph.

Minnesota State Patrol ticketed 11 motorists over 100 mph, ranging between 100 and 110 mph.

Costs of speeding violations vary by county, but typically ramp up to at least $120 for traveling 10 mph over the limit. Motorists stopped at 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.

“Unsafe speeding is always a leading factor in serious and fatal crashes,” says Lt. Eric Roeske of the State Patrol. “The faster you go, the more likely you are to lose control of your vehicle and the harder you are going to crash.”

The July enforcement supplemented an ongoing, 12-month speeding enforcement campaign that has resulted in 33,072 vehicle stops since launching in October 2009. The speed enforcement campaign will continue through September.

DPS reports the dangers of speeding include greater potential for loss of vehicle control; increased stopping distance; less time for driver response for crash avoidance; and increased crash severity. Motorists should keep at least a three-second following distance, as it takes more than the length of a football field to stop when traveling at 60 miles per hour.

The speed campaigns are a component of the state’s core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response. The goal of the program is 400 or fewer deaths by the end of 2010. To-date, there have been 236 traffic deaths in Minnesota.