Since the beginning of the COVID-19 era, a lot of Minnesota motorists have developed some very bad—and dangerous—driving habits.
“When the pandemic started, traffic safety professionals thought serious injuries and deaths in traffic accidents would go down; fewer miles were being driven,” said Lisa Kons, traffic safety programs manager for the Minnesota Safety Council. “We were 100% wrong.”
Instead, traffic accidents and fatalities made a significant jump, with excessive speed and distraction blamed for many crashes.
“Speeding is out of control in Minnesota and nationwide; it’s become socially acceptable to speed. But the faster you go, the harder you crash,” Kons added. “We want people to connect the dots and realize that if their driving behavior hurts or kills them, their family will be devastated.”
A new campaign asks people to contemplate who would be left behind if they died in a car crash. It also asks drivers if they would be willing to make changes to spare the people who love them—their spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends, and relatives—from that tragic reality.
The “Do It For ME” campaign’s message is simple but dramatic. In partnership with State Farm and the Minnesota Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, (MN NETS) the campaign aims to reduce distracted driving, speeding, and other careless but dangerous habits behind the wheel. The campaign will launch after the State Fair and will run on social media, radio, and TV.
“We’re asking, who would you change your behavior for?” said Kons who is also a coordinator at Minnesota NETS. “We want to make an impact on drivers’ thought processes, to make them think: ‘Who’s counting on me to make good choices and come home?’”
Statistics show that poor choices behind the wheel take a deadly toll. As of August 6, 219 lives have been lost in traffic-related casualties on Minnesota roadways so far this year.
In July, law enforcement from 291 Minnesota agencies across the state joined together to target speeding drivers. During the month of extra enforcement, 20,657 Minnesota drivers were cited; 47 agencies reported motorists driving at 100 mph or more. Eden Prairie police clocked (and ticketed) one lead foot who hit 152 mph.
The “Do It For ME” campaign aims to reverse the statistics, reminding drivers of the risk they take when they go too fast or give in to the temptation to text or check messages while behind the wheel.
“Everyone thinks that they are the safe speeder, they are the driver who knows how to use their phone [while driving] safely,” Kons said. “But we all need to keep our eyes on the road, our hands on the wheel, and our brain on driving.”