Editorial Roundup: Summer fun should include safety precautions
Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023
The kickoff to summer for most Minnesotans is tied to Memorial Day weekend when festivals, trips to the lake and get-togethers take off. It’s also the time when law enforcement grows more concerned about safety because there is a predictable uptick in vehicle crashes.
The call for caution isn’t meant to dampen spirits, but facts are facts. Of the 444 vehicle crash fatalities in 2022 across the state, 38% of them, or 169, occurred between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety.
That more dangerous period of time is why extra enforcement can be found on Minnesota roads, when officers are writing tickets for everything from non-hands-free cellphone use to seat belt violations. Last year 87 people died and 1,244 people were seriously injured after failing to wear a seat belt. Of those unbelted fatalities, 76 occurred in Greater Minnesota.
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The public should do their part to be cognizant of increased traffic and roadway use during the busy summer, including more use by motorcyclists and bicyclists.
Slowing down and being alert are necessary for more vigilant driving.
Department of Natural Resources officials also are stressing that caution be used on waterways.
Along with urging everyone in a boat to wear life jackets — it’s required for children age 10 and younger — the DNR reminds operators that driving a boat under the influence is illegal and is the single greatest factor in fatal boating accidents.
Higher water levels this year also mean boaters have to be aware that hazards can be hidden under the water’s surface.
Safety on the roads and in the water isn’t an attempt to take the fun out of summer; it’s a way to make sure everyone can enjoy these longer days without an avoidable tragedy marring them forever.
— Mankato Free Press, May 26