Letter to the Editor July 20, 2016

Dear Editor,
You may have noticed extra law enforcement on the roads recently. They are working extra speed patrols for those motorists who drive above the posted speed limit. Starting Memorial Weekend, speeds on Minnesota roads start to increase. They generally peak around Labor Day, the same time fatal crashes peak in our State.
Did you know…
• Speed is the most commonly reported contributing factor in fatal crashes.
• When speed increases, so does the chance for a violent crash – it’s simple: the faster you drive, the harder you crash.
• The dangers of speeding include greater potential for loss of vehicle control; increased stopping distance; less time available for driver response for crash avoidance; and increased crash severity leading to more numerous and severe injuries.
Drivers need to plan trips in advance — allow the time necessary to arrive at your destination safely and on time. The minimal time gained while speeding could have life-long consequences. Consider this — a motorist traveling at 55 miles per hour compared to 45 mph will save only 1 minute and 13 seconds on a 5 mile trip!
Speeding is also tied to aggressive driving, such as tailgating, abrupt lane changes and red-light running. These behaviors are not only unnecessary but speak to a troubling culture on our roads where we put our schedule ahead of everybody else’s safety.
Motorists should keep at least a three-second following distance, because it takes more than the length of a football field to stop when traveling at 60 miles per hour.
The tragedies that occur as a result of speeding motorists are simply preventable. These deaths and injuries do not have to happen. Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths. Drive at safe speeds. Remember the posted speed is the speed limit.
Dan Zachman
Safe Communities of Wright County Board Member
St. Michael