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St Paul (KROC AM News) - A statewide crackdown on speeding in Minnesota was announced last month and a lot of motorists either didn’t hear about it - or don’t care.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety says the “campaign was created due to a significant increase in speed-related incidents in 2020.”

The result?

“This year is proving to be just as dangerous for traffic fatalities as 2020, and speed-related deaths are outpacing last year.”

The department says state troopers have cited 13,673 drivers for speeding through March 4, compared with 11,318 tickets written at this time last year. They have also cited 142 motorists for going 100 mph or more compared with 80 this time last year.

In just the past week, seven drivers were caught driving 80 mph or faster in Olmsted County. One motorist - 22-year-old Devon On of Rochester - was clocked at 98 mph. He was also driving with a revoked DL and had no proof of insurance and is now facing a possible $800 fine.

Some other examples:

  • A South Lake Minnetonka police officer contacted a 17-year-old’s mom after he was pulled over going 85 in a 55 mph zone and cited for careless driving.
  • An Anoka County Sheriff’s deputy stopped a 17-year-old male for going 73 in a 30 mph zone near Andover High School. There were people everywhere thanks to the warm weather. He was cited for speeding and careless driving.
  • 28 stops. 28 tickets. That’s how many drivers one St. Paul Police Department officer cited in four hours for speeding. Driver after driver after driver exceeded a 25 mph speed limit by 20 mph or faster.
  • An Elk River police officer stopped a 16-year-old male for going 58 in a 30 mph zone. His excuse? “I’m in a rush.”
  • A Washington County sheriff’s deputy stopped a 17-year-old on going 109 in a 70 mph zone on I-94 with four friends in the car. Admitted to "showing off." Cited for speed & reckless driving.
  • “I thought I had a clear shot around that guy until I saw you.” That’s what a 34-year-old male told an Elk River police officer who pulled him over on Highway 10 for going 93 in a 65 mph zone.

The department says there has also been an “alarming” number of fatal accidents so far this year.

As of Friday, at least 59 traffic fatalities had been recorded around the state - or about six every week. That compares to 44 at the same time a year ago. About a third of the fatals were “speed-related.”

They include:

  • A 48-year-old motorcycle rider who was not wearing a helmet crashed in Nicollet County on Highway 169. Officers suspect speed and alcohol played a role in the crash.
  • A 39-year-old man on an ATV traveling 40 mph while racing a dirt bike on County Road 74 in Benton County. The ATV driver drifted into the opposite lane and collided with an oncoming vehicle, killing the ATV driver.
  • A car going too fast for conditions in Scott County lost control on a curve in blowing snow, crossed the centerline and collided head-on with a pickup. The car's driver was killed.

Preliminary reports show 120 motorists died in speed-related crashes in 2020, the most since 2008 (125).

News update:  Ready for some snow?

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