Law Enforcement, Traffic Safety Partners Awarded Over $1M for “Toward Zero Deaths” Initiative

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety has awarded over $1 million to it’s partners in the “Toward Zero Deaths” initiative. 

Several organizations throughout Northeast Minnesota were awarded a portion of $1,387,760.

This includes law enforcement in Aitkin, Carlton, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca and St. Louis Counties. 

The “Toward Zero Deaths” mission is to make the roads a safer place by decreasing traffic fatalities and serious injuries. 

The federal funds will help cover overtime for extra police enforcement campaigns for DWI, speed, distracted driving and seat belts. 

The money also covers DWI courts, officers who are dedicated full-time to DWI enforcement, Court-ordered ignition interlock for high risk offenders, and Safe Road Coalitions which provide education and support for local extra enforcement campaigns. 

Traffic fatalities in the Northeast Region have been down overall over the last five years. Thirty-five people died on the roads in that area last year, down from 48 the year before.  Drunk driving caused the most fatalities. 

“Focusing on the road is the smart choice, but when drivers get distracted or think an extra drink won’t be a big deal, that choice can tear apart so many lives,” said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety Director, “It’s going to take the dedication of our traffic safety partners to continue toward our goal of zero deaths. Think about it- no more fatal crashes, no more dreams cut short, no more devastated lives. Together, we can help motorists stay safe and stay alive.” 

More than $10 million was awarded total throughout the state. Traffic fatalities throughout the state are also at a five year low.  The Department of Public Safety says 361  died in 2014, compared to 387 last year and 411 in 2010.