The Free Press, Mankato, MN

July 31, 2012

Ask a trooper: Speeding, the ins and outs

By Sgt. Jacalyn Sticha
Minnesota State Patrol

MANKATO — I have been seeing squad cars all over this summer, what is going on?

The State Patrol and allied law enforcement agencies are increasing speed patrols in July to remind motorists about the dangers of speeding – driving at unsafe speeds is a main contributing factor in traffic deaths each year. The campaign is a component of Minnesota’s Toward Zero Deaths initiative.

Speed is force – the more force when crashing the more damage to our tissues and property.  Increasing speed reduces our reaction time, obviously, because we are covering distances faster.  Fast drivers are often the very aggressive drivers. 

The aggressive driver has a bucket full of dangerous driving behaviors:  risky passing and passing often, minimal following distance, cutting in and out, etc.  These behaviors, coupled with high speeds, create a dramatic risk, a risk that includes everyone else on the road.

Some facts regarding speeding:

You do not have to intend to speed to get a citation.  For instance, if your speedometer is broken and you are exceeding the speed limit, the malfunctioning equipment is not a defense.  This is also true for larger/ smaller tires affecting your speedometer reading, also. 

If roads are icy or snow is drifting, you must reduce your speed enough to maintain control.  Driving 55 mph on an icy road, which lands you in a ditch, is an example of going too fast for conditions.  

On the flipside, going too slow can be a problem. A sightseeing driver going 30 mph in a 55 mph zoned road can impede traffic and possibly receive a citation. A lineup of vehicles behind such a driver creates a completely new risk.  

Speed kills, is a true statement; slowing down saves lives, need I say more.