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West central law agencies running extra speed patrols

WILLMAR -- In July, motorists in Kandiyohi and Swift counties will face enhanced speed patrols as part of a statewide campaign coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety.

Officers with the Kandiyohi and Swift County sheriff's offices and Willmar, Atwater and Benson police are participating in the extra patrols.

In Kandiyohi County, an average speeding citation for 10 mph over the limit is $130. Motorists ticketed traveling more than 100 mph could lose their license for six months.

Speed is the most commonly reported contributing factor in fatal crashes. During 2007 to 2009, speed was a contributing factor in 325 fatalities statewide. "It's unfortunate that many drivers don't recognize speeding as a serious safety issue," says Benson Police Chief Michael Jambor. "When your speed increases, so does the risk for a violent crash, as does your risk of a ticket."

Another safety concern is the record-high number of motorcyclists on the road during the summer months. Jambor says a major factor in rider deaths are unsafe speeds -- more than half of all motorcycle crashes are single-vehicle events in which the rider loses control of the bike and runs off the road or crashes.

Jambor says with warm weather comes an increase in speeding behavior, an important reminder to motorists in the heart of the summer driving season -- the deadliest time on Minnesota roads. Drivers are urged to keep a three-second following distance to avoid tailgating and other aggressive driving behaviors such as running lights, breezing through stop signs and unsafe passing.

"We are all in a rush and have places to be, but that doesn't mean you can throw common sense driving out the window," Jambor says. "This campaign is about preventing tragedies that don't have to occur if we drive at safe speeds and have some patience behind the wheel."