July speed enforcement campaign begins

Law enforcement agencies in Anoka County are conducting enhanced speed enforcement patrol in July as part of a statewide campaign coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.

Unsafe and illegal speed is the most commonly reported contributing factor in fatal crashes, according to Lt. Shelly Orlando, Anoka County Sheriff’s Office.

During 2008-2011, speed contributed to nine fatalities in Anoka County and 254 traffic deaths statewide, Orlando said in a press release.

“As drivers, we can’t put our schedules ahead of other motorists’ safety,” she said.

“Running late or being in a hurry are not excuses to speed and put other drivers at risk.”

Orlando listed four dangers of speeding.

• Greater potential for loss of vehicle control.

• Increased stopping distance.

• Less time available for driver response for crash avoidance.

• Increased crash severity leading to more numerous and severe injuries.

Aggressive driving traits, such as tailgating, unsafe passing, running lights and weaving in and out of traffic, are other safety concerns of Anoka County law enforcement officers during the campaign, Orlando said.

“Motorists confronted by aggressive drivers should get out of their way, stay calm, do not challenge them and avoid eye contact,” she said.

“Motorists may also report aggressive driving and should be prepared to provide vehicle description, license number and location.”

In addition, motorists should keep a three-second following distance for safe stopping and reaction to other vehicles,  she said.

“It takes more than a length of a football field to stop when traveling at 60 mph,” Orlando said.

According to Orlando, there are a record number of motorcyclists on the road in July, so motorists should look twice for riders, especially at intersections, because motorcyclists are smaller and their speeds and distances harder to gauge.

The speed enforcement and education effort is part of the state’s Toward Zero Death program, which is designed to create a safe driving culture.

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