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Obey signs or pay the fines

Alexandria and Douglas County motorists will face enhanced speed enforcement patrols throughout July as part of a statewide campaign administrated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.

During 2007-2009, speed was a contributing factor in six fatalities in Douglas County and 325 traffic deaths statewide.

Speed is the most commonly reported contributing factor in fatal crashes. According to Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS), speed contributes to more than 100 traffic deaths and 300 life-altering, serious injuries each year.

In Douglas County, a typical 10 mph over the limit speeding ticket can cost $125.

"Speeding motorists are a serious threat to everyone on the road," said Douglas County Deputy Sheriff Brandon Chaffins. "The posted speed is the speed limit. When speed increases, so does the chance for a violent crash."

Both agencies cite the dangers of speeding include greater potential for loss of vehicle control; increased stopping distance; less time available for driver response for crash avoidance; and increased crash severity leading to more numerous and severe injuries.

Costs of speeding violations vary by county, but typically ramp up to at least $120 for traveling 10 mph over the limit. Motorists stopped at 20 mph over the speed limit face double the fine, and those ticketed traveling more than 100 mph can lose their license for six months.

More than twice as many speed-related fatal crashes occur on rural roads than major urban roads.

Alexandria Police Department Sergeant Kevin Guenther said 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.

Guenther also notes that increased speed does not save much travel time, but rather, "Your chances of being involved in a crash greatly increase as speed increases."

Traveling at 55 mph versus 45 mph for a 10-mile journey will only save about two and one-half minutes of travel time, Guenther added.

The Safe and Sober effort is coordinated by the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety. The campaign is a component of the state's Toward Zero Death (TZD) program. TZD is a multi-agency approach to address traffic issues regionally through enforcement, education, engineering and emergency trauma care and response.