Slow Down, Save Lives

April 9, 2024

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Typically this is a time to focus on distractions such as phones, and doing other activities such as eating, applying make-up, etc. while driving. The main message being shared this spring to increase safety on the roads is to start by simply slowing down. The Office of Traffic Safety reports that traffic fatalities are up alarmingly so far in 2024 at 72 deaths.

Our mild winter is likely partially to blame for this increase in traffic fatalities. Although there are typically more traffic crashes during the winter months, those tend to be more fender-bender type of accidents with vehicles sliding into each other at slower than average speeds. More accidents, but fewer deaths in the winter due to the lack of serious impact. Higher speed equals a higher likelihood of a crash turning fatal.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety states there are four main factors that increase the risk of fatalities: speed, impaired driving, distracted driving, and driving without a seat belt. 

Minnesotans can help keep everyone safe on the road by making the right choices and driving smart: 

  • Buckle up. 
  • Watch your speed and drive to conditions. 
  • Always plan a safe and sober ride if indulging in alcohol or cannabis products. Driving high is a DWI. 
  • Pay attention behind the wheel. Put the phone away or go hands-free, it’s the law. Minimize other distractions. 

If safety isn’t enough of a concern and you’re feeling over-confident in your driving ability, just remember you can’t control what the other vehicles are doing around you. You may need to react to another vehicle losing control, and distance and seconds matter in those moments. Over-correction and stopping distance become more of a concern as speeds increase.

One last reason to consider slowing down is how it might affect your wallet. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reports that a speeding ticket in Minnesota will typically cost at least $110, and fines double when speeds exceed 20 mph over the limit. If speeds reach 100 mph, your driver’s license may be suspended for six months. In addition to a ticket, it may end up costing you higher insurance rates, and additional court fees.

Stick to the posted speed limits. These are considered the highest speed to travel for that section of the road safely. Maybe not just for you, but also for the vehicles and pedestrians around you.