The Legislature is now in Session
Check out the bills that MSD is supporting
Scroll down to the Legislative Link
Stories of the tragedies of traffic crashes written by victims or their surviving family members
Locations, times and contact numbers of the five MSD panel for those who have been ordered to attend by the court
How to request a vehicle for your awareness program
Legislation important to MSD
Important and useful links to other traffic safety government websites
Traffic safety press releases and news clips
Minnesotans for Safe Driving provides Victim Impact Panels in six different counties and have panels for non- English speaking people in Spanish, Hmong and Russian.
Hennepin County Suburban Panels A variety of dates and locations are available, please call the following registration number to confirm and register. Suburban panel registration number is 952-238-0970
Isanti County Panels call for dates and location at 952-238-0970
Sibley/McLeod County Victim Panels-- call Susan at 1-320-864-1277 to register and more information. Fax is 320-864-1415
Sibley/ McLeod County Panel is at the McLeod County North Complex south entrance -2391 Hennepin Ave N. Glencoe, MN
Dates for panel are February 26, 2018, June 4, 2018 and October 15, 2018
6:00 to 6:30 registration-- doors lock at 6:30pm -- $40 fee cash or money order must bring your pre- registration form
There is a $25.00 cash fee due for each person court ordered to attend. There is NO CHARGE for any concerned person who accompanies the referred person. The $25.00 cash fee is due the night of the panel and will be collected upon admission. Credit cards are not accepted. Checks not accepted. Cell phones and pagers must not be used during the panel time. If you have questions please do not hesitate to contact Minnesotans For Safe Driving office: 952 238 0970.
Rescheduling: There will be a $25.00 additional fee for those who do not attend their first registered session. Any cancelation or rescheduling must be done at least 24 hours in advance.
Alcohol or illicit drug use prior to attendance is prohibited. You will be asked to leave if chemical use is suspected and no credit will be given for attendance that night.
If you are ordered to attend an impact panel you are welcome to go to any of the panels we offer but you must register in advance at the panel you wish to attend.
Cell phone and pager use during the panel is prohibited.
About Minnesotans for Safe Driving
Our Mission Statement -
To assist all victims of traffic crashes and educate
the public to the dangers of Drunk Driving and Distractive Driving.
Minnesotans for Safe Driving (MSD) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
Its Prime Objections are as follows:
We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help victims of traffic crashes involving unsafe driving behavior.
Advocates attend court proceedings at a victim's request. We assist victims step by step during court proceedings and after if requested.
Education and Public Awareness
As an organization, we are striving to change behaviors through education.
Speakers for presentations at any interested organization or school
Death Notification/ sensitivity training free of charge to law enforcement, medical personnel and any group upon request.
Materials and assistance in our new projectEmployee Workplace Reintegration after Loss
Victim Impact Panels to educate the offenders and the public about the consequences of their behavior. Panelists are victims, offenders, law enforcement and medical personnel. These speakers do impress upon the offenders the outcome of such irresponsible behavior.
Impactful DVD’s of victims and offenders talking about the crash that changed their lives.
We monitor court cases relating to public safety on Minnesota roadways.
We work to change and improve laws to make our roads safer.
Minnesotans For Safe Driving want to change the mindset in Minnesota regarding non-alcohol related crashes caused by speeding, aggressive driving, and inattentive and distracted driving. These crashes should not be referred to as “ACCIDENTS” they should be considered “CRASHES” that were caused by failure to obey the traffic laws, and follow due care when driving; not an unforeseen event which is the definition of an accident.
Minnesota has come a long way on reducing the incidence of drunk driving, but the battle is not over until we have reached zero deaths. With the help of technology, advocacy groups, the government and the public this goal CAN happen.
REMEMBER, THE MOST LIKELY SITUATION TO ENDANGER YOUR LIFE IS DRIVING ON THE ROADS AND HIGHWAYS YOU FREQUENT DAILY.
Minnesotans for Safe Driving is saddened to announce that we have lost two of our dearest and supportive friends in the past month
Steven Kallenbeck was co-owner of Aurora Productions. He was one of the kindest individuals and a talented producer. Our organization with Steven's assistance has positively touched thousands of lives through our driving impact DVDs.
Gary Williams was a caring and bright drug and alcohol evaluator. He was a very special friend to anyone working in or with the treatment community. He taught the members of our organization about the disease of addiction and made us better able to understand those battling this addiction.
Thank you for touching our lives. You will both be missed
Have you been involved in a crash caused by another, or just shake your head in disdain or dismay at the bad driving behavior you see everyday on our roads?
Don't just complain, do something about it. Join Minnesotans For Safe Driving as a volunteer and/or a financial donor. Numbers make a difference and money allows us to present more programs and materials.
We have many interesting volunteer positions and activities such as:
Participating as a court monitor involved with a study on non-alcohol related crashes
Participating at our Driving Impact Panels
Helping to produce our newsletters and brochures
Doing clerical work when needed
Helping with our legislative effort
Participating in traffic safety awareness at our booth at various events
We need speakers and organizers for various programs
Volunteer advocates, training available
Minnesotans for Safe Driving volunteers at their booth at the 2011 Minnesota TZD Conference in Duluth
volunteer Danielle helping at fundraising walk
MFSD needs volunteers in outstate Minnesota - we will train you!
Outstate call toll free:
Jon Cummings speaking at a school
Julio Salazar is a volunteer interpreter and speaker for the Spanish panels
Volunteers for Minnesotans for Safe Driving manning the Viking's Designated Driver Booth
"I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do. " Edward Everett Hale
Spotlight on MSD volunteers
After the sheriff's chaplain rings at 5 a.m., a family is changed forever
By Sarah T. Williams | 06/25/14 MinnPost article
MinnPost photo by Sarah T. Williams
Jon Cummings, founder of Minnesotans for Safe Driving: “This is a powerful, addictive, mood-altering chemical. [It] causes more misery, more death, more injuries, more treasure than all the rest of them combined. And it’s the legal one.”
Jon Cummings has delivered the talk about his son Phillip (and the drunk driver who killed him) more than 2,800 times over the past 18 years — for various Minnesota county jurisdictions, schools, churches, prisons, and driver’s-ed classes.
You’d think his story would by now have become rote or routinized. But even after all these years it reverberates with heartbreaking authenticity. It was no different on Saturday at Eisenhower Community Center in Hopkins, when Cummings addressed about 50 first-time DWI offenders during a Hennepin County court-ordered daylong seminar on addiction, treatment, alcohol’s effects on the brain, managing stress and strategies to avoid reoffending.
He doesn’t talk about Phillip right away; that comes at about the halfway point of his hourlong presentation.
Read the rest of the article at
http://www.minnpost.com/ mental-health-addiction/2014/06/ after-sheriffs-chaplain-rings -5-am-family-changed-forever
Minnesotans for Safe Driving
Past President & Legislative liaison
Minnesotans for Safe Driving
Why we started Minnesotans for Safe Driving?
MINNESOTANS FOR SAFE DRIVING was created in honor of our son Phillip who was killed by a drunk driver on May 4, 1994. Phil was a fine young man who died a violent and totally preventable death.
A short time after his death, we became involved in the drunk driving issue with a national non-profit organization, dedicating our lives in seeking ways to make changes in the law and attitudes of the driving public. But after a few years, it became very clear to us that drunk driving is not the only cause of the senseless carnage happening on our highways – aggressive and inattentive drivers are killing more people than drunk drivers.
Unfortunately there’s been little advocacy to help these victims through the courts or to fight for changes in the law at the Legislature. The lives of their sons and daughters, mothers and fathers were as senselessly taken, as was our son’s life. Therefore in February 2000, Minnesotans For Safe Driving was created to fill that known void and to expand our mission to serve as advocates for ALL VICTIMS OF TRAFFIC CRASHES, be they the results of drunk driving, speeding, aggressive or inattentive driving.
Our mission is two-fold; to stop the senseless carnage on our highways and to help all victims of all traffic crashes.
Forming Minnesotans For Safe Driving has given many talented people a means to continue their dedication to this mission. We hope that you will support us in this expanded endeavor.
Jon, Geri & Paul Cummings
MSD Directors Notes
Sharon and her
I have spent the last 26 years of my life working on the issue of drunk driving. Initially, I am always asked, “Are you a victim?” My answer is no. The next question is “Why do you do this then?” I decided this is a good time to answer these questions and also add a few comments.
Back in the 70’s (It seems like only yesterday), I worked in California at the Alameda County Juvenile Court / Detention Facility. A friend, who at the time was a Probation Officer, was hit and injured seriously by a drunk driver. My friend lost one arm and one leg, which of course changed his life forever. The drunk driver on the other hand was fined $300. That was it. I have always thought of that as $150 for each limb. Isn't that horrible.
For years that incident would slip in and out of my mind. After moving to Minnesota there came a time in my life when I had time to volunteer. I worked with a couple charities and one day decided maybe I could help make a difference regarding the crime of drunk driving. That was almost 30 years ago. Becoming an advocate for victims of drunk driving was definitely my calling.
I wish things would have been different in the 70’s, but I have learned to never look back. I know we have made amazing changes these past 30 years, but I know in my heart there is still a long way to go. I will never forget the call I received from the mother of a repeat drunk driving offender. She told me she had no other place to turn and wanted to get some advice for her son regarding turning himself into the authorities. She believed if her son turned himself in he would be “nailed”. That the system would not listen to what he is doing with his life now. That was the call, which made me understand the life of an alcoholic a bit more and the love of family members. I have been blessed. I now feel I understand some of the frustrations of the victim, but also the need for an offender to have someone believe in them. I feel like I have received a Masters Degree on the topic of drunk driving. It’s an education I have received from others, sometimes horrifying, sometimes sad, and always informative.
I am the lucky one; my family has never been through the pains of having a family member hit or killed by a drunk driver. As a mom, wife and citizen I feel it is not only my job, but everyone’s obligation to use our highways responsibly. It is our duty to do all we can to make this a safer world for our children and grandchildren. Now with Minnesotans For Safe Driving I have the ability to pursue my calling and assist victims – ALL victims of traffic crashes.
I would like to thank the founders of Minnesotans For Safe Driving, Jon and Geri Cummings for giving these victims a place to turn for assistance. I am proud of all that we have accomplished over the last three years. It still amazes me that in such a short time we have achieved so much. We will never give up the fight against drunk driving, but society has changed and we are embroiled in a war on our roadways. There are too many victims of not only drunk driving, but also speeding, road rage, and other irresponsible driving behavior. These victims now have some place to ask for help. This could not have happened without all of our generous volunteers and donators. So a special thank you to all of you.
A majority of the funds raised, we are proud to say, have been spent on community services and projects. In fact, 80% goes back into the community for education of offenders and the public, special projects and victims’ assistance. This is remarkable. This is ONLY possible because of our dedicated volunteers and our wonderful supporters. A Big Thank You to everyone!
CRASH CAR PROGRAM
Minnesotans For Safe Driving has a crash car program designed to enlighten the public. Displaying an actual crash car has proven very effective when used as an added visual to a driving awareness program.
It shows your students, employees, customers, or organization a firsthand visual caused by irresponsible driving behavior which may be the result of impaired, distracted, aggressive or speed.
Cars are available for Schools, Drivers training, Fire and Police demonstrations, Malls, Corporations, Community Events and Parades when appropriate.
There is a reasonable charge for transporting crash cars to your site that varies based on the destination and qualified carrier. The preferred method for invoicing is by means of a fax or scanned transmission.
Cars will be placed on the site requested. Be sure to choose a location that will provide the greatest visual attraction. Cars have posters and storyboards to display scenes from a life and crash.
Whenever possible identify to us your planned agenda for the car display and if time and availability permits, volunteers may be available to speak.
To request a crash car for your event please contact our office at 952-238-0970 or you may contact Bob Milner at 612-724-4296.
The 2018 Minnesota Legislature is in session starting February 20, 2018. It will be a short session but an important one for the issue of traffic safety. The two bills that Minnesotans for Safe Driving are supporting and actively lobbying for is the Hands Free of the cell phone while driving bill and a bill modifying the DWI law by including other types of intoxicating substances and striking references to hazardous substances which do not apply to impaired driving. If you are in support of these two issues, please contact your legislator to vote yes. If you don’t know who is your legislator go to this website to find out. www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/districtfinder.asp
The bill to modify the DWI law-- SF 2479 and HF 2766 –
Sen Clausen and Rep. Wills are the authors
The need for this change became apparent when a woman was in a serious crash impaired by sniffing a can of aerosol Dust Off to get high but she couldn’t be convicted of DWI because Dust Off wasn’t one of the listed hazardous substances. Trying to keep up with all the intoxicating substances that people use to get high is not practical or possible. This bill defines Intoxicating substances to means a drug or chemical, as those terms are defined in section 151.01, that when introduced into the human body impairs the central nervous system or impairs the human audio, visual, or mental processes. The term does not include alcohol or controlled substances.
This bill eliminates the Hazardous substance listing. That list was made for the workplace, but not appropriate for the dangers of the highway. Instead the term Intoxicating substance with a new definition will take its place. This will avoid adding new substances every year. We do not want anyone driving a vehicle, a boat, a snowmobile, an airplane, or be hunting while under the influence of ANY intoxicating substance. This change is very important.
HANDS FREE CELL PHONE LEGISLATION
Distracted driving is causing as many if not more crashes than drunk diving. Using the cell phone while driving causes a majority of these crashes. Getting the cell phone out of the hands of all drivers is an important first step in saving lives. There is a law against texting and driving but that is very hard to enforce so long as it is legal to hold the phone. It is hard to believe that drivers actually take selfies, watch YouTube, browse the internet and send text messages all while driving the speed limit. No one can do that safely.
Always say to yourself, is using my cell phone worth a life?
Senate file 837 and House file 1180 addresses the change in the law that is very necessary. The authors are Sen. Jensen and Rep. Mark Uglem
HF1180/SF837 key points:
Allows cell phone use in a voice-activated or other hands-free mode, whether through a device feature or headset or other accessories.
This is an exception to the prohibition on cell phone use and has two purposes:
Allows cell phone calls to be made through use of one-touch functionality.
This allows for systems that require a one-touch activation and matches current federal commercial motor vehicle requirements.
Allows hand-held cell phone use:
To obtain emergency assistance.
In the event of an immediate life or safety threat or danger.
In an authorized emergency vehicle while in the performance of official duties.
Does not apply to devices that function solely as GPS or navigation systems.
Joe Tikalsky speaking for the victims of Distracted Driving Crashes at the Rally for the Hands Free cell phone legislation
The FAQs: HF 1180 / SF 837
Prohibiting certain use of cellular phones
The bill to modify the DWI law does not have a bill number yet. The need for this change became apparent when a woman was in a serious crash impaired by sniffing a can of aerosol Dust Off to get high but she couldn’t be convicted of DWI because Dust Off wasn’t one of the listed hazardous substances. Trying to keep up with all the intoxicating substances that people use to get high is not practical or possible. This bill defines Intoxicating substances. "Intoxicating substance" means a drug or chemical, as those terms are defined in section 151.01, that when introduced into the human body impairs the central nervous system or impairs the human audio, visual, or mental processes. The term does not include alcohol or controlled substances.
Training Offered by MSD
is a POST accredited course offered by Sharon Gehrman-Driscoll and Nancy Johnson of Minnesotans for Safe Driving and Lt. John Nagel of the Minnesota State Patrol. This class is provided at no cost to law enforcement, EMT’s, coroners, clergy, etc.,
MSD has created another educational and victim advocacy outreach program in the form of an Employee Workplace Reintegration after Loss.
This innovative program is initially being directed at over 1600 Minnesota small businesses and offers them a complimentary introduction presentation as to how they can better manage the affects of loss that their employees may face.
Important Traffic Safety Links
(Minneapolis Star Tribune): To Catch a Drunk: A Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Watches for Telltale Signs
(KEYC Mankato): DWI Courts Providing Solutions to Reducing Drunk Driving
Traffic safety is why we are Minnesotans for Safe Driving. Most of our members have experienced firsthand what happens when the driving public doesn’t put traffic safety first.
You'll find recent and many drunk and drugged driving facts to prove why choosing to drive impaired in any way is so dangerous. It will help you understand the workings of the court system, what rights have in the courts, teen and parent issues pending issues and many more informational articles, facts, programs and links to related websites. This site will also inform you about what educational resources MSD has to offer plus training they can provide in Death Notification, and Returning to Work after Bereavement.
MSD has Crash Cars available for events and operates Victim Impact Panels in four different counties. The site also has information and support for those dealing with the trauma of a loved one who was involved in a serious crash.
We hope that after visiting our site, you have learned more about our organization and some very important drunk driving and careless driving facts that will reinforce your commitment to drive “Safe and Sober”.