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State Patrol Ramping Up Efforts to Prevent Fatal Accidents

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Minnesota has seen an increase in fatalities in car accidents in the last two years and the State Patrol has a plan to decrease those crashes starting immediately.

Sgt. Jacalyn Sticha says, "We have been alarmed lately with the increase in fatalities and injury crashes."

And the State Patrol and all Minnesotans have good reason to be alarmed:

Over the past two years, the number of fatalities from accidents has increased.

Thirty–three percent of those accidents were intersection related.

Sticha says, "What that means is that they failed to yield the right away. We need to realize that intersections are a big deal."

They are such a big deal that beginning immediately, State Troopers will now spend a portion of their shift monitoring intersections.

Sgt. Sticha says, "They will be looking for people who do not make a complete stop. They roll through, fudge through or if it's a four–way stop, they don't wait their turn, they're too aggressive. We'll also be looking for people that don't yield the right away properly or they try to beat yellow lights, causing a danger. All of those things that happen in an intersection that can be tragic."

The state patrol says many accidents happen at busy intersections like this one behind me because people simply fail to obey traffic signs.

Sticha says, "When we get to those intersections we need to stop. It needs to be a real stop. Then we need to scan and survey and not make and decisions until we completely understand what is going on in that intersection."

And of course there are other distractions not related to traffic, that you, the driver, can have complete control over.

Lt. Bill Kruger says, "Is the driver attentive or are they just not paying attention. Are they in a hurry or is there something in the vehicle that's distracting them?"

But no matter what the reason, the State Patrol will be on guard to help prevent you from adding to the already tragic numbers.