100 deadliest days halfway point

Minnesota Municipal Power Agency recently installed a solar array at North High School as part of the Hometown Solar Grant program. submitted photo

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the summer has entered the second half of the 100 deadliest days (Memorial Day weekend– Labor Day) on Minnesota roads, and the tragedies so far mean Minnesotans must recommit to making safe choices.

During the first 52 days, preliminary numbers show 66 people have lost their lives. That’s 37 percent of all traffic fatalities so far in 2018. The 66 deaths compare with 67 traffic fatalities in the first 52 days of the 100 deadliest days last year.

Preliminary numbers show out of the 66 deaths at least five are known to be distraction-related, 19 are speed-related, 13 are alcohol-related, seven were not wearing their seat belts and 24 were motorcyclists. Of the 24 motorcyclists who died, 17 were not wearing a helmet.

Preliminary numbers show there were only 17 days with no fatal crashes during this time period. 

A driver will typically pay more than $110 with court fees for traveling 10 mph over the speed limit. Fines double for those traveling 20 mph over the limit and drivers can lose their license for six months for going 100 mph or more. 

The summer months tend to be the time when there are a greater number of motorcycle fatalities. To stay safe, riders should do the following:

• Wear brightly-colored protective gear, including a DOT-approved helmet. 

• Be prepared for inattentive drivers and other unexpected situations on the road. Stay focused on riding and keep your speed in check.

• Take a training course. Courses are available for beginner to expert riders and are an opportunity to polish and learn life-saving maneuvers to keep you safe on the road.

Motorists also need to be careful. Always look twice for motorcyclists before entering a roadway or changing lanes. Motorcycles are smaller, so their speed and distance is difficult to judge. Also give riders room to ride, pay attention and drive at safe speeds.

The Department of Public Safety also recommends the following general road safety tips:

• If you are with a driver who is distracted, speak up, tell them to put the phone down and offer to be their designated texter.

• Refuse to drive until every passenger is buckled up.

• Slow down — trying to save a few minutes off your drive isn’t worth causing a crash.

• Plan ahead before you go out by designating a sober driver, and if you see a person who has had too much to drink, speak up and find them a safe ride home.

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