Illegal or unsafe SPEED is a leading
contributing factor in Mn. fatal crashes
Celebrate ‘Independence’ from Drunk Driving This July 4th
Remember: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving
The Fourth of July may be America’s iconic holiday, but all too often the revelry ends in tragedy on the highways due to drunk driving.
Minnesotans for Safe Driving urges everyone in the state to celebrate this Independence Day with a pledge to keep the region “independent” from drunk driving.
The Fourth may be one of the nation’s most popular holidays, but, unfortunately, it’s also one of the most dangerous in terms of alcohol-related fatalities. Too many people think they can get behind the wheel because they’ve only had a few drinks and just have a ‘buzz’ on. The truth is you don’t have to be falling down drunk to be a menace to yourself and everyone around you on the highways. Remember: buzzed driving is drunk driving.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration underscore the toll drunk driving takes on the nation. NHTSA reports that there were 9,878 fatalities involving drunk driving in 2011, accounting for 31 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic deaths for that year. That worked out to about one death every 53 minutes in 2011.
Drunk driving fatalities spike during holidays like the Fourth of July. During the Independence Day holiday in 2011 (which ran from 6 p.m., July 1 to 5:59 p.m., July 5), 428 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes and, of these, 161 (38%) died in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher. A BAC of .08 is the legal intoxication limit recognized by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the various territories of the United States.
Minnesota wasn’t spared the tragedies of deaths and injuries during its own July 4th celebrations in 2011. Six people died and 207 were injured in all types of crashes.
The 2011 drunk-driving toll during the Fourth of July holiday was no mere statistical anomaly. NHTSA statistics for Independence Day fatalities over a five-year period (from 2007 to 2011) show that 40 percent of drunk driving fatalities involved drivers with BACs of .08 or higher. Even more disturbing, over the same five-year period, 66 percent of drunk-driving fatalities involved drivers who had BACs of at least .15 g/dL, almost twice the legal intoxication limit.
Younger drivers nationwide during 2011 still weren’t getting the message that drunk driving is dangerous, according to the NHTSA statistics. During the 2011 July 4th holiday, 52 percent of young (18- to 34-year old) drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes were legally drunk (having BACs of .08 or higher).
Nighttime is particularly dangerous every day of the year, and the July 4th holiday is no exception. During the July Fourth holiday period in 2011, the rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes was almost 4.5 times higher at night than during the day.
Such statistics tell a tragic tale. Alcohol not only impairs your ability to drive, it impairs your judgment about whether you can or should drive. By the time you get behind the wheel, even if you only have a buzz on, the truth is you’re too drunk to drive. The best thing to keep in mind is simply: Buzzed driving is drunk driving.”
Minnesotans for Safe Driving recommends these simple tips for a safe Fourth of July:
- Plan a safe way home before the fun begins;
- Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
- If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely;
- Use you community’s sober ride program
- If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact 911
- And remember, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. If you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
- More information on avoiding impaired driving can be found at www.nhtsa.gov/StopImpairedDriving
Intersection Safety Cameras
Reduce Crashes and Save Lives
Red light running led to 676 fatalities and an estimated 113,000 injuries nationally in 2009 (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). In Minnesota in 2011, 23 people were killed and 7668 were injured at controlled device intersections.
Intersection crashes account for more than 45 percent of all reported crashes and 21 percent of fatalities. In 2003, 9,213 Americans died as a result of intersection-related crashes – a rate of more than one an hour.
(National Automotive Sampling System General Estimates System (NASS-GES), Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS))
A Columbus, Ohio study found that the number of people running red lights at the city’s first two intersections with cameras dropped from 1,684 violators in March 2006 to 477 in August of 2006, a 71 percent decrease. (Ohio Post Dispatch, September 25, 2006)
Traffic crashes are the single most significant cause of preventable death and injury. Nearly two-thirds of those killed in intersection crashes are not in the red light-running vehicle; they are the innocent person who thought they were safe proceeding on the green light, riding a bicycle, or crossing the road in the cross walk.
It has been said that when cameras are used the yellow light duration is shortened to encourage more tickets. Minnesota Department of Transportation controls the light durations and will not change nor shortened yellow light times. Minnesota law follows the permissive yellow light guideline. A Violation occurs if a driver enters the intersection after onset of a red light and that is when a ticket should be given.
Remember, no one nor no entity is violating your privacy if you do not violate the law. This is a safety issue and not a financial issue
MSD supports the Red Light Camera legislation not because it wants more cameras watching everything that we do but because people are being killed and severely injured due to many drivers who are in a big hurry and violate the law by rushing through intersections even against the red light.
MSD has a saying on its website that says “Don’t let the two minutes you save on the road be the last two minutes of someone’s life.” This is so fitting for this issue. Is running through a red light worth your life or my loved one’s just to get to your destination a few minutes faster? People obey the law for two main reasons, either they obey because it is the right thing to do or they believe they will be caught if they don’t. Cameras will make a big difference for the latter. Preventing the crash is so much more important than the ticket after the fact. Knowing the camera or a police officer is at the intersection will curb most violations and SAVE LIVES.
Stop on Red, It’s the Law:
Facts Don’t Lie:
click here for Dan's story
Barb and her son, Dan
How Ignition Interlock Works
This Minnesota Department of Public Safety video explains how ignition interlocks work and their benefits for road safety.
The mandatory Ignition Interlock law has been in effect for one year now. The following press release “One Year Since Interlock Law: DPS Urges DWI Offenders to Use Device for Sober, Legal Driving” give more information on the law and the benefits to the offenders.
SMART RIDE a sober cab program in a rural county
A blueprint for other counties
Rice County, Minnesota wants to lower the incidences of impaired driving in their county. Unfortunately, the county has been on the state’s list of the 13 deadliest counties for many years and in 2012 the county has finally moved off that list. One reason for that is an ongoing award winning collaboration of seven law enforcement agencies in Rice County called the MOD Squad (Modifying Unsafe Driver Behavior – One traffic stop at a time) who work together on saturation patrols throughout the year to keep impaired drivers off the road. They also work with the Rice County Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) Safe Roads Coalition on public awareness and education programs. But the best program is one that prevents people from driving after drinking. Since rural areas do not have mass transit the next best thing would be a sober cab program. Programs such as these need the cooperation from government agencies and private business to succeed. The idea for the Sober Cab was spearheaded by the Safe Roads Coalition to start first in Northfield/Dundas in the summer of 2012 and launched in Faribault just in time for St. Patrick’s Day 2013.
The program is called SMART RIDE. A task force was formed to create the program that included College City Beverage, the local alcohol distributor; First Choice Shuttle, a local cab company operating throughout the county; the Rice County Attorney’s office, the City Councils of Northfield and Faribault, as well as the Northfield and Faribault Police Chiefs, and several liquor establishments.
Voucher given to the patrons
Local bars participating in the program give patrons who are not safe to drive a free overnight parking permit and a complimentary voucher for a $5 sober cab ride home within the city limits. The bar pays $2 of the $5, College City Beverage pays $2 and one dollar comes from a DWI forfeiture fund set up by police departments, the County Sheriff and County Attorney. This program does not provide a free ride to everyone in the bar; it is at the discretion of the bartenders. Patrons who are not given the voucher by the bar can chose to pay the $5 themselves to get a safe ride home and still use a parking voucher if needed. The shuttle provides service to all of rural Rice and Steele Counties. When traveling outside the city limits; there is a per mile charge which the patron must pay.
This program started the summer of 2012 and it has been very successful even with people who pay the $5 themselves. Last September at Northfield’s Jesse James Days, the Smart Ride shuttles were packed. People were happy to wait in lines to get a safe, cheap ride home. There were no alcohol incidents during that four-day festival. The program is available 24/7 and law enforcement is seeing more and more cars left at bars to be picked up in the morning when there is a sober driver. As of March 2013, seventeen (17) local liquor establishments have joined the program.
For more information on starting a program in your area contact JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING
Driver Wars: Who’s America’s Best Driver?
If you’ve ever felt like you’re the only good driver on the road some days, you’re not alone—in fact, surveys show that most people believe they are better, more reliable drivers than the other people on the road at any given time. The average person is involved in a car collision just once every 17 years, but with over 300 million people in the US, that rate can add up pretty quickly. If you’ve ever been involved in a car collision, you know that it can be tough to sort out just who’s to blame. And even if you may feel like the best driver on the road, there’s a good chance that you’re not. When it comes to deciphering who is the best driver, there are some candidates who you know have a higher collision rate than others—for instance, teenagers, due largely to inexperience, have a much higher accident rate than someone in their 30s or 40s. So who is the best driver? Statistically, the answer may be a big surprise to some. The following infographic examines, from a statistical standpoint, who the best driver on the road is. Read on to see whether or not you fit the description!