by Heidi L. Everett
High speeds on all Minnesota roadways have forced law enforcement to step up crack downs.
Stearns and Benton counties, along with law enforcement across the state, are cracking down on drivers who are traveling at dangerous speeds.
Preliminary numbers from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety show 395 Minnesotans were killed on Minnesota roadways in 2020. Of those, 120 deaths were speed-related, the most since 2008. At least 35 speed-related deaths have occurred so far this year, compared with 13 this time last year.
“We rely on each other to keep our neighbors safe,” said Sgt. Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol. “Speeding throughout our communities and region is a dangerous game that risks the lives of everyone you care about. Speeding might seem harmless and the easiest way to get to a destination quickly. But the next time you speed, remember, crashing your car could lead to losing the ones you love most and change countless lives forever.”
The Minnesota State Patrol saw an alarming increase in the number of drivers going 100 miles per hour or more in 2020. Troopers wrote 1,068 citations to drivers traveling more than 100 mph, compared to 533 in 2019, a 100- percent increase.
Stearns County cited 38 drivers for traveling 90 mph or more and nine for 100 mph or more last year.
As of March 25 this year, 201 tickets were written by the State Patrol to drivers traveling in excess of 100 mph. That does not include numbers from county and local law enforcement agencies.
Drivers aren’t just taking risks on highways and open country roads. Law enforcement found too many drivers significantly exceeding speeds in city limits.
Risks of speeding include greater potential for loss of vehicle control, increased stopping time and distance and increased crash severity leading to more serious injuries and death.
The cost of a speeding violation varies, 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. Drivers can lose their license for six months for going 100 mph or more.
Slow down. Stay safe.