Speed kills state’s motorists

Illegal or unsafe speed is the leading contributing factor in fatal crashes according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (2009-2011 Minnesota Speed Related Traffic Crash facts, Office of Traffic Safety, June 2012). In Sherburne County alone, the economic impact of the loss of life during that three-year period was $2.7 million. The cost is staggering. Yet, when I speak with folks, they think that the posted speed limit is a “floor” not a “ceiling.” According to them, if you go no more than 9 miles over the speed limit, an officer should not pull you over. It is not really “speeding” in their minds.

The excuses I have heard over the years have ranged from “I was late,” “I set my cruise control,” “I was going with the flow of traffic,” and “I have new tires on and the odometer is not working.” While I have heard a number of excuses, I am sure that I have not heard as many excuses as the law enforcement community that serves us. The law is that the posted speed limit is the top speed for the road.

Law enforcement officers throughout the state will be targeting those individuals who take the unnecessary risk and speed this upcoming week. Are you ready to be greeted by flashing lights and a $130-plus citation, or worse, a crash that you caused, due to unsafe speed, with countless negative repercussions?

So, you have two options: Get there fast or get there safe. Is there really a choice? — County Attorney Kathleen Heaney (Editor’s note: Heaney is a member of the Sherburne County Safe Roads Coalition)