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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Toward Zero Deaths Program based on belief that 1 death on the road is 1 too many

  • Center-line rumble trips are a new safety tactic
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  •     MnDOT District State Aid Engineer Lou Tasa and Polk County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Michael Norland updated the Board of Commissioners Tuesday on the "Towards Zero Deaths" (TZD) campaign.    
        Minnesota's TZD program, created in 2003, is based on the belief that even one traffic-related death on our roads is unacceptable. It targets areas for improvement and integrates education, enforcement, engineering and emergency medical and trauma services.    
        "One important type of research we have been looking at are the rumble strips," explained Tasa. "They do help prevent accidents and deaths."     
        District 1 Commissioner Craig Buness asked Tasa, "Would a center line rumble strip in our area help? I saw a lot of these while I was in South Dakota recently."    
        "I support them and think they would be a good idea," added Norland. "If you save one life, they're worth it."    
        "They are easy to put in and an inexpensive solution," answered Tasa. "They force people to stay in their own lane and pay attention."   
        Seatbelts were another hot topic around the room as they all spoke about how important they can be, especially worn all the time.    
        "Our last survey showed that 76 percent of people wear their seatbelts while in the car," said Tasa. "We are really pushing for everyone to wear them and go with the slogan 'every trip, every time.' There aren't as much protection in newer cars as there were in older cars."    
        Texting while driving also caught the attention of the board after District 4 Commissioner Warren Affeldt told the story of a woman he witnessed swerving while on the road.    
        "I was driving near Marcoux Corner when I saw this woman all over the road," explained Affeldt. "I wanted to pass her as soon as I possibly could and when I finally got up there I motioned for her to roll down the window. She flipped me off. I couldn't believe it. It's so dangerous out there."    
        "We push the no texting and driving a lot, especially by Marcoux Corner," said Norland. "We would like to get more unmarked cars as they help catch people a lot more than we can. Bluetooth in cars makes phone calls a little better because it's handsfree, but I still think it's a distraction."
          This year, only two counties are being funded for the education portion of the program. Those two are Polk and Pennington counties.
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