Steele County Sheriff Lon Thiele and the new head of the Towards Zero Death campaign, Kari Woltman, were guests on AM 1390's Talk of the Town.

Extra patrols will continue to be out this New Year's weekend, with the emphasis on impaired driving. During the October Click It or Ticket campaign, 5,500 motorists were cited, which was a 33 percent drop from last year's campaign. On the other hand, this past summer's enhanced DWI campaign netted 1,573 citations compared from 1,340 last year.

Minnesota, with 365 traffic fatalities, has already passed last year's totals. Motorcycle deaths are up from 45 a year ago to 61 this year. Pedestrian deaths have increased from 16 last year to 36 so far this year. Bicycle deaths have increased from five to 10 so far this year.

Woltman pointed out that speed is a factor in 1 of 5 traffic fatals in Minnesota. Alcohol plays a role in 1 of 4 deaths and half of our states traffic fatals are unbelted.

In a nutshell, slow down, buckle up and don't drive when drinking. Oh yeah, lay off that cell phone when you drive, too.

Have a safe and Happy New Year.

The Sheriff's Department talks traffic safety for New Years. Townsquaremedia