Aug 7, 2019 | By: Chaz Mootz

Crash Reduction Project To Take Place On Highway 371

Motorists traveling on Highway 371 tomorrow can expect an increase of enforcement patrolling the roadway. A crash reduction project put on by the Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program hopes to change driver behavior.

“You’re going to see extra enforcement all along the corridor, those enforcement entities have been asked to participate by spending some extra time out there doing enforcement looking for all behaviors that are not wanted on the roadway,” said East Central Toward Zero Deaths Regional Program Director Tom Nixon.

Last year, a crash reduction project took place on Highway 210, and the results showed a 24% reduction in total crashes on that road in the following year.

“Our goal is that the awareness will resonate with the folks on the roadway, they’re going to see extra enforcement; if you see someone pulled over they probably were causing some kind of infraction along that road that we should be able to change,” said Nixon.

With the new “Hands-Free” law just taking effect in Minnesota, drivers have to put their phones down at all times, but there’s also a lot of other things that motorists can do to keep Minnesota roadways safe.

“With the event we want people to learn to not be distracted when they are driving, we want them to wear their seat belts, not text, don’t use a cell phone, don’t drive impaired, and please don’t speed,” said Brainerd State Patrol Lieutenant Brad Bondwell.

“Greater than 90% of crashes are contributed majority-wise by behavior, people’s decisions that they make behind the wheel,” said Nixon.

“You shouldn’t be eating in the vehicle, you shouldn’t be talking on the phone, you should just concentrate on driving because that’s how important it is,” said Bondwell.

“Make sure every time you are behind the wheel you are buckled up, driving sober, not distracted, and driving the speed limit,” said Nixon.

It’s important for crash reduction events like this to take place as fatal car accidents can affect the whole community.

“We all live around here, we all have families and relatives that live around here and one of the hardest parts of my job is going to tell someone their loved one has passed away and if it happened in a crash caused by distracted driving, it’s horrible, it’s totally preventable, it should have never happened,” said Bondwell.

The enforcement event will take place on Thursday from Fort Ripley to Walker on Highway 371.

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