In the first two months of a statewide speeding crackdown, area law enforcement agencies in the Brainerd State Patrol's seven-county district cited more motorists for speeding than any other outstate area.
The crackdown is part of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's HEAT - or Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic - campaign. The reporting period was June through July.
In the Brainerd district, 1,103 vehicles were stopped and 762 speeding citations issued. The Brainerd district was followed by Rochester with 1,646 vehicles stopped and 754 citations issued, Marshall with 1,193 vehicles stopped and 625 citations issued, St. Cloud with 1,088 vehicles stopped and 555 citations issued, Mankato with 897 vehicles stopped and 349 citations issued, Duluth with 785 vehicles stopped and 322 citations issued, Detroit Lakes with 636 vehicles stopped and 301 citations issued, Virginia with 762 vehicles stopped and 276 citations issued and Thief River Falls with 589 vehicles stopped and 99 citations issued.
In the Twin Cities metro area, law enforcement agencies stopped 5,671 vehicles and cited 2,989 for speed.
Also reported were 10,000 speed warnings and 2,872 citations for various offenses related to DWI, outstanding warrants, firearms, illegal substances/open bottle and unbelted vehicle occupants.
In Minnesota each year speed is a factor in about 150 traffic deaths and 7,000 injuries, the state Department of Public Safety reported.
In 2006, HEAT officers cited about 34,000 drivers for illegal speed and issued 45,000 speed warnings.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the Department of Transportation consider last year's HEAT program a key effort of the state's Toward Zero Deaths effort in reducing traffic deaths. Minnesota's 494 deaths last year was the lowest annual number since 1945. In 2007, there have been 333 traffic deaths reported in the state to date, compared to 331 at this time in 2006.
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