The pandemic seems to have changed the way we drive — and not for the better.
The number of miles people drove in the U.S. dropped 40 percent last spring at the outset of the pandemic when lockdowns across the country kept many people home. Some motorists took advantage of open roads and drove faster. Speeding reached record highs in 2020 and high speeds continued through the start of this year.
The number of drivers going 100 miles per hour or more is “out of control,” according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. State troopers issued twice the number of tickets to people driving 100 miles per hour or faster in 2020 as in 2019.
Reckless driving has led to more fatal crashes. At least 120 people died in Minnesota last year in speed-related accidents, the highest number reported since 2008. Preliminary reports show 35 people lost their lives so far this year in car crashes and speed contributed to at least of those 13 fatalities, compared to nine at this point last year.
This month, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety launched a statewide crackdown on speeding drivers and a public awareness campaign.
Host Angela Davis spoke with the director of traffic safety and a longtime driving instructor about the crackdown and about how to stay safe while driving.
Mike Hanson is the director of the Office of Traffic Safety at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Jennifer Sletten is driving instructor and past president of the Minnesota Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association.
Use the audio player above to listen to the program.
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