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Speeding through the ages: Younger drivers tipping scales of fatal crashes

Younger drivers feel the need to speed, and as a result accounted for nearly 60 percent of the speed-related deaths over the past three years, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.

In comparison, drivers 65 and older were involved in just 5 percent of the speed-related fatalities.

DPS is stepping-up speed enforcement through July 21 to prevent speed-related crashes. Driving at unsafe and illegal speeds is a leading crash death factor and accounts for around 80 traffic deaths annually — 243 deaths in the last three years.

Speeding as a Fatal Crash Factor among Age Groups, 2010–2012:

  • Drivers under age 30 were involved in 138 (57 percent) of the 243 speed-related deaths.
  • Drivers ages 30–64 were involved in 93 (38 percent) of the 243 speed-related deaths.
  • Drivers ages 65 and older were involved in 12 (5 percent) of the 243 speed-related deaths.

“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,” says Donna Berger, director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety.

Dangers, consequences of speeding

The summertime is made the deadliest period of the year largely due to motorists traveling at faster, unsafe speeds — with clear roads giving drivers a false sense of security. 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 available for driver response for crash avoidance.
  • Increased crash severity leading to more numerous and severe injuries.

Three seconds is the safe following distance

Motorists 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.

About the Minnesota Department Public Safety

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.

OTS highlights 

  • At least five people were killed during the Fourth of July travel period and approximately 560 were arrested for DWI.
  • The Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement, May 20–June 2, resulted in 10,342 belt citations.
  • Motorcycle rider training courses are available for riders of all skill levels — register at
  • OTS is investing federal grants totaling more than $7 million to 317 law enforcement agencies and community partner groups for enforcement and education campaigns, October 2012–September 30.