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Upward trend in fatal crashes gets attention of State Patrol

 Fatal and serious crashes have increased this year and the trajectory continues. In an effort to reverse the trend, the Minnesota State Patrol is implementing enhanced enforcement plans in every district from now through December. The goal is to halt the increase in fatal crashes.

State Patrol districts will devise their own specific responses to this statewide call for action. District supervisors will be selecting appropriate and effective enforcement responses to the particular issues and causes of fatal and serious injury crashes within each district. These efforts will be based on the available statistics and crash facts.

As an example of the statewide effort, the seven-county Brainerd District supervisors realize that in their district, about 85 percent of the year-to-date fatal and serious injury crashes have occurred on rural highways, many at or near intersections. Statistics show that of those crashes, about 43 percent have involved unbelted occupants. This effort will result in targeted intersection-related saturation patrols in that district. The effect will show increased visibility as troopers are assigned specific posts at or near various intersections. Troopers will monitor for violations such as seatbelts, speeding, texting, distracted driving, complete stops, fail to yield and a host of other intersection-related violations.

“We are using district crash data to help steer and manage our available resources in order to save lives to the best of our ability.” says Sean Meagher, Brainerd District captain. “We ask that the motoring public be proactive as well and that everyone wear their seatbelt, slow down and focus on driving.”

Specific plans for each district will not be announced, but the State Patrol wants the public to notice the difference, and respond accordingly. Troopers are hoping to gain the support of drivers and passengers as a cooperative effort as we all work together to make our roads safer for everyone.