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Speeding enforcement results in 16,000-plus tickets

Jean Pieri / Pioneer Press file photo Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Jack Tiegs approaches a vehicle that was speeding in St. Paul in this August 2017 photo. Law enforcement agencies across Minnesota issued more than 16,000 traffic citations this past month during a statewide speed enforcement campaign.

ST. PAUL — Law enforcement agencies across Minnesota issued more than 16,000 traffic citations this past month during a statewide speed enforcement campaign.

Some 300 law enforcement agencies participated in the campaign, collectively handing out 14,661 citations for unsafe speed and 1,625 seat belt citations.

During the campaign, 25 agencies reported clocking motorists at speeds of 100 mph or more, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, which issued a summary report Wednesday.

The top speed of 120 mph was reported by the Corcoran Police Department.

Law enforcement officers heard a variety of excuses from speeders who were stopped.

From one driver who was recorded doing 99 mph in a 65 mph zone: "Trying to make it to Taco Bell before it closed."

Someone stopped for going 45 mph in a 35 mph zone gave this reason: "Just picked up a glass cake pan from a friend, excited to get home and start cooking."

In one case, two different troopers cited the same driver for the same speed (79 mph in a 60 mph zone) about half an hour apart.

A motorcyclist riding 120 mph in a 50 mph zone told an officer he had recently bought the bike and wanted to go fast, according to the Department of Public Safety report, which noted the motorcyclist had a best friend who died in a motorcycle crash earlier this year.

The enhanced enforcement and education effort is coordinated through the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety. Overtime to support the enforcement is paid with federal funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The extra overtime shifts also resulted in other arrests and citations for incidents such as driving while impaired, controlled substances and texting while driving.

Unsafe speeds lead to increased stopping distance, greater likelihood of losing control of the vehicle and less time for drivers to avoid a crash. Damage and injuries also tend to be more severe in crashes involving unsafe speeds. Speed was a contributing factor to 22 percent of single-vehicle crashes last year, according to the Department of Public Safety.

The cost of a speeding violation varies by county but it typically costs a driver more than $110 with court fees for traveling 10 mph over the limit.

Area law enforcement agencies that participated in the July enforcement effort included police departments in Atwater, Belgrade, Benson, Clara City, Danube, Glenwood, Olivia, Paynesville, Redwood Falls, Starbuck and Willmar; the Lower Sioux Police Department; the Minnesota State Patrol; and the sheriff's offices of Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Pope, Redwood, Renville, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties.