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Buckle Up and Win

Posted on October 08, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Transportation, Public Safety

Teen Driving

Minnesota Department of Public of Safety Encourages Teens to Buckle Up. Photo Credit State Farm

Teens, here’s your chance to finally go viral: Students in grades 9–12 can produce a 30-second TV public service announcement promoting the importance of buckling up or the dangers of distracted driving. The top teen will win $1,000 and their spot will air during the MTV Video Music Awards in 2013. Cash prizes awarded by AAA.

Deadline for Buckle Up and Pay Attention, Teens! entries is April 15, 2013. Check out the rules, find tips and view previous contest-winning spots online.

Driver inexperience, risk-taking behavior, distractions, nighttime driving and seat belt non-use are the leading reasons traffic crashes are the leading killer of teens. Parents are encouraged to provide supervised driving experience for their teen in a variety of conditions and road types, especially during the first year of licensure. Parents may also use a teen driver contract to establish road rules, reinforce the laws and follow through with consequences.


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Minnesota: Land of 150 Trails

Posted on July 26, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Categories: Outdoors, Public Safety, Sports

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A rider on Minnesota’s newest mountain biking trail at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area

Ask any Minnesotan—even those who don’t bicycle much—and chances are they’ll know that the State of Minnesota and the City of Minneapolis are consistently ranked among the top bike-friendly locations across the nation. But what many Minnesotans—especially those who don’t bicycle much—probably don’t know is that there is a great resource available online that is dedicated to Minnesota bicycling.

Pedal Minnesota is the result of a partnership between a wide range of Minnesota groups and government agencies, all centered on the goal of getting Minnesotans pedaling. The site features a map of trails and bike-friendly roads (as well as worthwhile locations like bike shops, parks, and food/lodging) across the state; a list of resources for individuals, communities, and businesses; a page highlighting the many bike events occurring across Minnesota; and a “Pedal Central” blog, featuring articles on all aspects of Minnesota biking, such as tips on keeping cool while bicycling this summer.

In recognition of the important role that bicycling plays in Minnesota—economically, recreationally, and as a form of transportation—Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed last May to be Minnesota Bike Month, in an effort to also promote further efforts for bike safety. Last October was also proclaimed to be Safe Routes to School Month by Governor Dayton, in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Health (a PedalMN partner), to promote the positive health and academic benefits that accompany students who make a habit of walking or bicycling to school each day.


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Minnesota Leading the way in Responsible Electronics Waste Management

Posted on July 23, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Environment, Public Safety, Technology

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An exhibit on E-Waste presented by the MPCA at the 2011 Minnesota State Fair as part of their Eco Experience facility.

In a world increasingly dependent on smartphones and laptops, the issue of responsibly disposing of these electronics is becoming more and more pressing. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) reports that in the last year, Minnesota took in nearly 33 million pounds of electronic waste for recycling, making Minnesota a national leader in collections of e-waste for recycling.

What is electronic waste? E-waste, as it’s called, is what’s created when electronic materials are disposed. This can include cellphones, computers, printers, televisions, digital cameras, etc., and as technology continues to advance and we continue to upgrade our devices, the amount of e-waste we produce continues to rise as well.

Unlike throwing away a piece of paper, however, disposing of electronics can have a huge impact on the environment and on our health; e-waste contains high levels of lead, cadmium, and other chemicals that can pollute the ground and water supply if they aren’t properly disposed of. Electronic waste should always be taken to certified recycling facilities that are trained to manage these hazardous chemicals.


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Stay Safe This Independence Day

Posted on July 03, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Health, Transportation, Public Safety

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As we celebrate our history and take pride in our nation this July 4th, the Dayton Administration and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) encourage Minnesotans to take extra care and caution while behind the wheel.

In Minnesota, July 4th has been the deadliest day on the road for the last three years, resulting in 15 traffic deaths over the 24-hour period. “The spike in drinking and driving deaths during the Fourth of July is a clear and simple reminder why Minnesotans need to plan ahead for a sober ride” says Donna Berger, director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety. During the holiday travel period, 66 percent of traffic deaths are a result of drunk driving.

With a stated mission “to create a culture for which traffic fatalities and serious injuries are no longer acceptable,” The DPS, along with the Departments of Health and Transportation, the State Patrol, and others, have started the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative which works through “education, engineering, enforcement, and emergency medical and trauma services” to improve road safety for Minnesota citizens.


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Minnesota Department of Commerce Leads the Fight against Elder Investment Fraud

Posted on June 27, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Seniors, Public Safety

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Seniors are the targets of financial fraud every day. To prevent the elderly from falling victim to financial fraud, the Minnesota Department of Commerce has joined in the fight against elder investment fraud through their training program “Preventing Elderly Investment Fraud” on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day that focused on prevention through education.

Many seniors become susceptible to investment fraud and financial exploitation because of age-related factors, illnesses and cognitive impairment.  It is crucial that the elder populations are protected from investment fraud because senior citizens control nearly 70 percent of the nation’s wealth. According to a 2010 Investor Protection Trust (IPT) Elder Fraud Survey, one out of every five citizens over the age of 65 has already been victimized by a financial swindle.  

The Minnesota Department of Commerce recognizes the vulnerability of seniors and through their training program addressed the need to educate health care providers about how to prevent seniors from falling victim to investment fraud.  Health care providers are key in the detection and prevention of elder abuse, therefore providers need instruction on how to spot and report fraud and financial abuse within the elderly and vulnerable adult populations.


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A couple of important reminders for the weekend

Posted on May 25, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Public Safety

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As Memorial Day weekend approaches, the office of the Governor and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) urge you to drive safely and buckle up — extra Click It or Ticket seat belt patrols are on roads now.

In 2011, there were 365 (preliminary) traffic deaths in the state – far below the 568 deaths in Minnesota in 1990, but far higher than anyone wants. At this point in 2012, there have been 99- traffic deaths in the state.

The DPS, along with the Departments of Health and Transportation, the State Patrol , and other organizations, has started the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative. More information on TZD can be found here: http://www.minnesotatzd.org/. More information on safe driving tips and statistics can be found at the DPS Office of Traffic Safety website.

As you travel this weekend and throughout the summer — the deadliest time on Minnesota roads — follow these four basic steps to help ensure safer roads:

Buckle up. More than half the motorists killed in crashes are not wearing a seat belt.


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Staying Safe During the 2012 Construction Season

Posted on April 05, 2012 at 2:20 PM
Categories: Transportation, Public Safety

The Minnesota Department of Transportation today announced its 2012 construction program, which will include 316 economy-boosting projects in the Metro and in Greater Minnesota. This year's state highway construction projects include work on the Interstate I-694/Highway 10 interchange in the Twin Cities and completion of construction on I-35 in Duluth. Other projects will improve safety at railroad crossings, repair weather-damaged seawalls and docks, and repair runways and terminals at regional airports.

“MnDOT is focused on improving our highways and maximizing the capacity of the system,” said Commissioner Tom Sorel. “Our transportation system is vital to the state’s economy and to its citizens’ quality of life. We want to ensure that it provides a safe and efficient trip for all users.”


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Towards Zero Deaths—Minnesota’s Primary Seatbelt Law Saves Lives

Posted on March 26, 2012 at 2:50 PM
Categories: Public Safety, Transportation

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A new study by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety shows 68 lives and over 300 injuries have been avoided in Minnesota thanks to the state’s 2009 Primary Seat Belt Law. Under the primary seat belt law, officers can ticket drivers for not wearing a seat belt without any other law being broken. Since the law went into effect, observed seatbelt use in the state has risen from 87 percent in 2008 to 93 percent in 2011.

“The findings of this study remind us again how vital it is for Minnesotans to buckle up — every seat, every ride,” said Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman. Seatbelt use reduces the risk of fatal injury in a passenger automobile by 45 percent. Unbuckled motorists are six times more likely to be injured in an accident than motorists wearing seat belts. Minnesotans that are least likely to buckle up and more likely to die in crashes are young drivers. This group represents only 24 percent of licensed drivers in Minnesota, yet they account for half of serious unbelted injuries.

The study by the Department of Public Safety showed 70 percent of Minnesota motorists are in favor of the Primary Seatbelt Law, up from 62 percent just before the law was passed. As more motorists use seatbelts, the drop in injuries is also saving the state money. $45 million in hospital bills have been avoided thanks to motorists using their seatbelts.

“As Minnesota continues its efforts to move roadway deaths towards zero, this research shows that seat belts are a critical tool in that effort,” said MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel. It’s important that every Minnesota motorist remembers to use a seatbelt. Buckling is the easiest, least expensive way to help lower traffic deaths in Minnesota.  


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Minnesota Receives Grant to Combat Car Theft

Posted on March 15, 2012 at 2:53 PM
Categories: Public Safety

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In 2010, Minnesotans lost almost 8,400 cars to auto theft, totaling more than $21.3 million in stolen assets.  This week Commissioner Mike Rothman and the Department of Commerce unveiled Minnesota’s plan to combat this problem by granting metro area law enforcement with $3.8 million towards new theft-prevention technology.

This extension of the Minnesota's Auto Theft Prevention Grant Program will provide metro police departments with new “bait cars” equipped with hidden cameras and audio recording to help police officers catch criminals in the act.  "There are audio recordings of them in the act of doing it, along with a video recording," Mille Lacs County Sheriff Brent Lindgren said. "Then you can actually shut the vehicle down and apprehend them while they're still in the vehicle, and provide all of that information to our jurors and to our prosecution to hold people accountable.”

Part of the new funding will also go towards purchasing new high-tech cameras, designed to photograph license plate numbers each time a car passes and run the number through several databases.  This system will help law enforcement officials recognize not only stolen vehicles but also those operated by drivers with outstanding warrants and suspended licenses. 


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