Speed patrols focus on preventing tragedy during May 12-19 campaign

Published 6:16 pm Friday, May 14, 2021

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Speed-related traffic fatalities outpacing last year and contributing to higher number of  traffic deaths year-to-date than 2020


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.

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.

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“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.”

State Patrol districts across Minnesota will dedicate specific days to high visibility speed and aggressive driving patrols starting Wednesday, May 12. They will be teaming up with law enforcement agencies in their region and across Minnesota.

Patrols for the Rochester region, which includes Mower, Dodge and Steele counties will be Tuesday, May 18.

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.

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.

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).

Recent speed-related traffic deaths

• A 35-year-old male motorcyclist not wearing a helmet, who was driving 79 mph in a 55 mph zone. He ran off the road in McLeod County. Drug use is suspected.

• A 29-year-old male driver going 80 mph in a 30 mph zone on a Cass County road. He ran off the road, hit an embankment and overturned multiple times. Alcohol and drugs are suspected.

• A 52-year-old motorcyclist not wearing a helmet was driving 60 mph in a 40 mph zone on a Stearns County road. He ran off the road at a curve and hit mailboxes and a fence.

• A 23-year-old male motorcyclist, traveling around 70 mph in a 45 mph zone in Red Wing hit a curb, causing the bike to break up, ejecting the rider.