Despite the fact that 2020 was a plagued by a pandemic that forced many people to stay home and off the roads, Minnesota saw a huge jump in traffic fatalities and excessive speeding tickets. There were fewer people on the roads, and some drivers saw this as an opportunity to put the pedal to the metal. For too many, they paid the price with their wallets, or worse, their life.
That’s why Minnesota police recently announced a massive speeding crackdown. Using $1 million in initial funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, multiple local and state authorities are hoping their presence will curb excessive speeding across the state.
Last year, Minnesota saw the most traffic fatalities related to speeding drivers in 12 years. Moreover, Minnesota State Patrol troopers issued more than double the number of citations for drivers traveling more than 100 mph in 2020. Those findings led officials at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to say that some drivers were treating “the roadway it’s a raceway.”
Traffic Down, Speeding Up
You’d think that with a lot fewer drivers on the road that police wouldn’t be able to ticket as many excessive speeders. However, officials say that as traffic volumes dropped by as much as 70 percent in some places due to the pandemic, those who remained on the road took it as an opportunity to put the pedal to the floorboard.
“We saw speeds go off of the charts,” said Transportation Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher. “We are still seeing that today, even though traffic volumes are only down 5 to 10 percent statewide.”
Office of Traffic Safety director Mike Hanson also said there appears to also be a misconception that police officers aren’t out trying to catch speeders due to the pandemic affecting how resources are managed.
“[There is] a significant misperception out there that because of COVID and some other challenges that law enforcement is not actively working traffic anymore,” said Hanson. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Police issued 533 citations for speeding more than 100 miles per hour in 2019. Last year, they issued 1,068 such citations. Because of this, agencies across the state have begun a renewed effort to look for speeders on major roads all across the state.
So if you are thinking of opening up the throttle and letting loose, know that police will be looking for you and they won’t be giving verbal warnings. This type of driving is especially dangerous during the winter time when visibility and stopping times are reduced. You won’t be able to talk your way out of a ticket if you’re pulled over for excessive speeding, but we might be able to in court. At a minimum, we can help prevent major insurance increases or the loss of your license by developing a strong case and working with the prosecution. So if you face big penalties because you were caught at high speeds, reach out to Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm today.