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Troopers to step up speed enforcement on rural roads

State Patrol kicks off Rural Speed Reduction Project and other enforcement efforts

ST. PAUL — Minnesota State Patrol troopers are kicking off a new initiative to help stop dangerous speeding on rural high-risk roadways. This spring and summer, troopers will take part in the Rural Speed Reduction Project. Each district will assign troopers to conduct high visibility patrols on problematic roadways in their areas now through Sept. 2.

“Losing a loved one because of a crash that was likely preventable is heartbreaking and unacceptable,” said Col. Christina Bogojevic, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol. “This new enforcement initiative is another way for troopers to make a difference by educating drivers and stopping dangerous behaviors before it results in a life-changing tragedy. If it saves even one life, it’s worth it.”

An increased focus on speed

Fatal crashes are up almost 40 percent from this time last year on Minnesota roads. Speeding increases not only the chance of being in a crash, but also increases the severity of the crash.

Traffic fatalities Jan. 1-May 9

• 2024: 116

• 2023: 84

Speed-related traffic fatalities Jan. 1-May 5

• 2024: 31

• 2023: 26

Data shows many speeding-related fatalities occur on roads in rural areas that permit high speeds and do not have interstate-type safety designs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 87 percent of all speed-related traffic deaths across the U.S. occurred on non-interstate roads in 2022.

How it works

The Rural Speed Reduction Project replaces the Highway Enforcement for Aggressive Traffic (HEAT) enforcement, which the State Patrol started in 2022 to target speeding on Minnesota freeways.

The new project allows each State Patrol district to formulate its own plan for when and what roads to monitor. Troopers will work the special enforcement while on duty as well as during overtime hours. On select days throughout the summer, some districts may schedule all of its troopers for high-visibility efforts. The two Twin Cities metro area districts will allocate hours to rural roads as well as freeways.

Several types of data were analyzed to determine what roads needed the most attention. That included crashes, traffic volume, county population counts and speeding citation data from all 87 Minnesota counties.

Statewide Rural Speed Project results April 29-May 5

• Total stops: 1,511

• Speed stops: 1,246

Other special enforcement

Project 20(24)

The State Patrol will also be re-launching its Project 20(24) enforcement. Over several weekends in May through September, troopers will work in teams to conduct high intensity patrols in specific areas focusing on the deadliest traffic violations: speed, distraction, lack of seat belt and impairment. Project 20(24) will kick off fishing opener weekend.

2024 Dates Location

May 10-12 Bemidji area

June 21-23 Detroit Lakes area

July 26-28 Metro freeways

Aug. 16-18 St. Cloud area

Sept. 13-15 Metrol freeways

Street racing

The State Patrol is again working with partner agencies on street racing enforcement efforts. Since first beginning in 2021, law enforcement has seen a significant reduction in the number of participants and gatherings due to the consistent resources dedicated to combat this dangerous activity. However, street racing continues and, in some cases, has become more aggressive with participants driving higher speeds in more populated areas.

“Our troopers and law enforcement partners will continue working hard to stop dangerous driving behaviors, but we can’t do it alone,” Col. Bogojevic said. “Drivers have to do their part. That means driving the speed limit, putting distractions away, buckling up and always driving sober. Let’s work together to make our roads safer for everyone.”

About the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.

About the Minnesota State Patrol

Nearly 600 Minnesota State Patrol troopers are the foundation of the agency that works to provide a safe environment on Minnesota’s roads by assisting motorists, taking enforcement action and educating drivers about traffic safety issues. In addition to road safety activities, troopers conduct flight patrols, search and rescue missions and assist other law enforcement agencies.

 

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