Ask a Trooper: Speed increases driving dangerE-mail email@example.com or mail your question to Duluth News Tribune, Attn: Ask the State Trooper, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802. You may remain anonymous if you choose. Read past columns at duluthnews tribune.com.
Q: Why does the State Patrol waste time writing speeding tickets when they could chase down more aggressive drivers — like people who blow stop signs, cut you off or drive impaired?
A: You are not alone in the way you perceive speeding violations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website states that research is showing that the public erroneously believes that speeding is not a great risk to safety or is not as serious as other traffic violations. The opposite is true. When looking at all fatal crashes, illegal or unsafe speed is the No. 1 factor cited. Other most-cited factors were inattentive or distracted driving and failure to yield.
Speed is force and energy, thus trauma to our tissue, and the more speed you have the more damage to the body. Also, the faster we are traveling the less time it takes to cover distances; shortening the time it takes to travel a certain distance shortens our time to reason and react. At higher speeds, the greater the potential is for losing control of the vehicle and not regaining it. The driver traveling at high speeds is often also driving aggressively: abrupt lane changes, following too close and impatient with others.
The occupant protection built into a vehicle, seatbelt, structural engineering, airbags, padded dashes and bolster and windshields to mention a few, are all incredibly effective. They are designed to displace, disperse or absorb as much force as possible before it gets to your body. But the faster you go the less effective they are at doing this. By exceeding limits you reduce the effectiveness of all occupant protection. Speed shatters life, slow down and arrive alive without a costly citation.
Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is a regional public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol.