Minnesotans are once again hitting the road for summer vacations, and while many Minnesotans are driving smart, some have fallen into poor driving habits.

Speed is driving traffic fatalities to numbers the state hasn’t seen in a decade.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) is coordinating extra speed patrols during the month of July. The extra patrols and outreach effort is also part of the NHTSA Region 5 Great Lakes, High Stakes traffic safety initiative taking place during the summer of 2021.

Preliminary reports show 198 people have died on Minnesota roads so far in 2021 with 75 speed-related deaths. That’s 38 percent of all traffic fatalities.

The 75 speed-related fatalities through June 30 compares with:

• 49 in 2020

• 29 in 2019

• 54 in 2018

• 42 in 2017

The Minnesota State Patrol cited 38,819 motorists for speeding through June 10 of this year with 550 tickets written for speeds of 100 mph or more.

If you speed, 

expect to be stopped 

Recent stops include:

• A Washington County Sheriff’s deputy stopped a 19-year-old driver for going 105 mph in a 65 mph zone.

• A trooper in the State Patrol’s Baxter district stopped a motorcyclist for speeding 113 mph on Highway 18. The rider was also under the influence of alcohol.

• A trooper stopped a driver in Wright County for going 98 mph in a work zone. The vehicle was stolen.

• A trooper in the State Patrol’s Mankato district stopped a motorist driving 107 mph in a 65 mph zone on Highway 169.

“The next time you see a fatal crash on the news, close your eyes and pretend it’s your loved one,” said Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety Director Mike Hanson. “Now close your eyes and imagine speeding down a road, losing control and that loved one is killed because of your actions. By driving smart and going the speed limit, we can help everyone get home safely at the end of each day.”

Col. Matt Langer, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol, said the troopers are out to catch those driving at dangerous speeds. 

“We are out on the road, we are watching and if you’re speeding, you will be stopped,” he said. 

The 198 fatalities in 2021 to date compares with 147 during this time last year.

The 394 traffic fatalities in 2020 are the most in five years, with speed contributing to 30 percent of all traffic fatalities. In 2020, 122 motorists died in speed-related crashes, the most since 2008 (125).