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Speed kills

Summertime has proven to be the deadliest time of year on the roads in Minnesota, largely due to motorists traveling faster at unsafe speeds, with clear roads providing a false sense of security, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS).

As part of an effort to slow down speeders, DPS is stepping up speed enforcement through this weekend.

Statewide, there were 243 speed-related deaths in the last three years.

Younger drivers, younger than age 30, accounted for nearly 60 percent of speed-related deaths statewide from 2010 through 2012.

Drivers in the ages 30 to 64 age-group were involved in 38 percent of crashes during that same time period.

Drivers ages 65 and older were involved in 5 percent of all speed-related deaths statewide over the last three years.

"Young drivers are more likely to engage in risky behavior such as speeding, putting themselves and others at greater risk of a serious injury or death," said Donna Berger, director of DPS Office of Traffic Safety.

In Douglas County, from 2010 through 2012:

--There were 13 total traffic deaths with an economic impact of $17,930,000

--Of those 13 deaths, one was a speed-related death

--There were 32 total severely injured people in crashes with an economic impact of $2,226,800

--Of those 32 people injured, six were speed-related severe injuries

DPS officials remind motorists that the faster the speed, the harder and more violent the crash. Speeding leads to:

--Greater potential for loss of vehicle control.

--Increased stopping distance.

--Less time for driver response for avoid crash

--Increased crash severity leading to more numerous and severe injuries.

Also, DPS issued a reminder that drivers should keep a three-second following distance to allow for safe stopping and reaction to other vehicles. It takes more than the length of a football field to stop when traveling at 60 miles per hour.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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