Minnesota launches speed enforcement crackdown amid pandemic

Cars drive through the snow.
Vehicles drive down McAndrews Road in Burnsville on Dec. 23. Minnesota transportation and public safety officials on Monday launched a traffic enforcement crackdown and awareness campaign amid a spike in deaths related to speeding during the pandemic.
Chris Juhn for MPR News 2020

Minnesota transportation and public safety officials on Monday launched a traffic enforcement crackdown and awareness campaign amid a spike in deaths related to speeding during the pandemic.

Public safety, transportation and health officials gathered for a news conference to announce the campaign, which will involve education and outreach about the dangers of speeding in addition to extra enforcement.

The campaign — which started last month with a partnership between the Office of Traffic Safety and the State Patrol — will expand this month to include hundreds of local law enforcement agencies across the state.

As fewer drivers frequented roads last year due to the pandemic, the state saw a 12 percent increase in speed-related deaths, according to Office of Traffic Safety director Mike Hanson. The State Patrol issued more than 1,000 speeding citations last year to drivers going more than 100 miles per hour — nearly double the amount in 2019.

The nearly 400 traffic fatalities in 2020 were the most the state has seen in five years, and the 120 speed-related deaths last year were the most since 2008. Six of the 23 fatal crashes across the state this year so far were found to have been due to excessive speeding.

Before you keep reading ...

MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.