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Resolve to drive safely in 2021

Jan 06, 2021 10:55AM ● By Editor
From the Minnesota Department of Public Safety - January 2, 2020

With the arrival of the New Year, you may be thinking about your New Year’s resolutions. What do you want to change for the better in 2021? Perhaps you’re thinking about getting more exercise, or spending less money, or finally cleaning out that closet you’ve been avoiding since 2011.

Whatever New Year’s resolutions you decide on, the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is asking you and all Minnesotans to add one to the top of the list: Drive safely. This is a request you’ve likely heard many times before, but it’s never been more urgent. Preliminary numbers show 391 traffic deaths so far in 2020 – that’s 9 percent more than at this time in 2019.

Or, to put it more bluntly: People are dying needlessly on Minnesota roads. And it has to stop.

The good news is that it’s in our power to stop it. All it takes is following the law and using your head: Put away distractions. Find a sober ride. Buckle up. And for goodness’ sake, obey the speed limit and drive according to the existing conditions, depending on the weather.

One of the many consequences we’ve seen as a result of the pandemic is the exponential increase in the number of serious speed-related violations and traffic fatalities taking place on Minnesota roads compared to last year. The lighter traffic and sometimes empty roads tempt drivers to push their cars in excess of 100 mph all too often. This reckless, selfish behavior seems to stem from two misconceptions, but the reality is quite different.

  1. The misconception: Look at how people drive. Obviously, speeding is not that big a deal.

    The reality: Wrong. Most people have no idea what their vehicle is capable of at normal speeds, let alone when they’re traveling 10, 20 or 30 mph or more over the speed limit. You can easily lose control, and if you hit someone at that speed, you will kill them, and possibly yourself. You are not immortal.

  2. The misconception: Law enforcement is dealing with its own COVID-related issues and too busy with pandemic-related things to do their usual patrols, so you won’t get caught.

    The reality: Also wrong, as evidenced by the more than 1,000 speeding tickets the Minnesota State Patrol has issued for speeds of 100 mph or more so far in 2020. That’s a terrifying and disturbing jump in dangerous driving when compared to the 530+ tickets for those excessive speeds in all of 2019.

Lest you think you’re the only one being asked to make this kind of New Year’s resolution, rest assured that OTS will be dedicating extra attention to the speeding crisis early next year. They and their traffic safety partners statewide will be focusing on this issue in order to improve traffic safety on all of Minnesota’s roads.

In short, OTS has a New Year’s resolution too: It’s to join together with law enforcement to take back Minnesota roads so we can all get home safely at the end of the day.

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