Editorial overview: be careful: speeding can “catch up to you” – Albert Lea Tribune

To slow down.

That’s the crucial message about the most basic safety measure in driving: controlling your speed.

Not enough drivers do it. In fact, the acceleration is up. And tragically, so are speeding fatalities.

Nationally, more than 11,200 people died from speeding-related crashes in 2020, according to the National Highway Transit Safety Administration. Final 2021 data could show another jump of around 5%.

Closer to home, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, 166 motorists in the state were killed in speeding-related crashes in 2021, far ahead of the 122 lost in 2020 and more than double the toll from 75 just two years earlier.

This year through June 19, according to the DPS, there are 44 speed-related fatalities, down 45% from the same period last year but 13% more than the same period in 2020 and 57% more than in 2019.

To try to raise awareness that speed kills, the DPS just completed a statewide education and enforcement campaign in July. NHTSA is now investing $8 million in a national public service announcement campaign on TV, radio and social media.

The TV spot has English and Spanish versions that feature an off-camera narrator observing a speeding vehicle and saying, “This guy was driving way over the speed limit. After a crash, she implores viewers to “watch the damage.”

A similar montage takes place with a driver “well over the speed limit”, with the same call to “look at the damage” after the car hits a tree.

In the third, a driver is going just “a little over the speed limit”. This time, however, the “damage” is a young girl in a hospital room, injured by the “little” speeding ticket.

The spot ends with the written slogan: “Speeding. It catches up with you. »

Or maybe the State Patrol will, even if some of its soldiers are simultaneously aiding the Minneapolis Police Department’s desperate quest to bring other types of crime under control.

Amazingly, this is the first time NHTSA has offered a nationwide speeding campaign. It has already succeeded in changing other pernicious driver behaviors including not wearing seat belts, driving while intoxicated, using cell phones to talk or text while driving and does not to supervise cyclists, walkers, pedestrians and construction workers.

While none of these dangerous behaviors have been eliminated, appropriate stigma now surrounds them. The same must happen when it comes to speeding, NHTSA Administrator Steven Cliff said at the campaign unveiling. “Drivers don’t see speeding as a big deal,” he said. “We must view speeding as socially unacceptable and as dangerous as impaired driving.

The spike in speed-related deaths is “tragic”, “sad” and “completely preventable”, Mike Hanson, director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety, told an editorial. Among the root causes, Hanson said, were increased speeds made possible by the decrease in traffic that accompanied the onset of the pandemic, a recklessness that has not gone away with the return to pre-pandemic traffic levels. pandemic.

But beyond that, Hanson continued, “some drivers act really selfish. We lost the courtesy we used to bring with us when we were in our car; it’s very easy to be anonymous when you’re behind the wheel.

The consequences can be catastrophic. “I’ll put it very bluntly,” Hanson said. “These selfish behaviors kill people.”

For this reason and many others (including environmental and economic factors), motorists should hear and heed the message to examine the damage caused by speeding and to slow down.

Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 3

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