ST. CLOUD -- Nearly 900 traffic safety professionals are in St. Cloud this week for the 19th annual Toward Zero Death Conference at the River's Edge Convention Center.

The two day event puts an emphasis on the latest information and ideas to reduce traffic-related fatalities and life-changing injuries.

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Mike Hanson is the Office of Traffic Safety Director. He says their are four key factors responsible for the vast majority of fatal crash.

Speeding, anyone who has spent time on the roads know speed is out of control. Impaired driving, there is no excuse for anyone to go to jail or end of in a hearse because of a bad decision to drink and drive. Unbelted drivers represent a third of our fatalities, and finally distracted driving.

Hanson says every accident is avoidable as long as drivers make smart decisions and use common sense when behind the wheel.

He says one area of emphasis is addressing the growing problem around speeding. In the past five years speeding has resulted in 114 deaths per year.

Speed is the one driving behavior where the driver has control of every moment behind the wheel, but it also makes every other behavior worse. The more speed you bring in to a bad decision, the more likely you won't have time or room to react.

Hanson says while significant progress has been made since the Toward Zero Death program began in 2003, the increase in traffic-related deaths since COVID is alarming.


He says 488 people died in traffic related crashes last year, the most since 2007. This year they are projecting around 450 traffic-related deaths.


Toward Zero Death Conference

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