Make sure to buckle up and keep an eye on the speedometer this weekend, as the Minnesota State Patrol Troopers will be conducting their second high-intensity patrol of the year.
The patrol is part of Project 20(22) and will see 15 state troopers patrol freeways on the east metro in Chisago, Dakota, and Washington Counties. Patrols will begin at 2 p.m. on Friday and wrap up Sunday at 8 p.m.
Troopers will focus on policing what they call the "deadliest traffic violations." These include speeding, wearing a seatbelt, distraction, and impairment.
The State Patrol said that the program's goal is to have a visible presence and protect motorists during busy times on the roads as they see too many reckless drivers cause deadly situations.
"We're seeing drivers that are unfortunately losing their lives from decision-making behind the wheel," Minnesota State Trooper Lt. Gordon Shank said. "We want to make sure that we're there to try to help change that."
So far this year, there have been 155 traffic-related deaths on Minnesota roadways. In total, 44 people have died from speed-related accidents, 20 from impairment, nine from distraction, and 38 from not wearing a seatbelt.
Shank touched on the agency's success when it conducted the first patrol of the program in May.
Shank said that in total, 786 vehicles were pulled over, 602 for speeding and 14 for driving under the influence.
"While we'll never know if those stops made a change, we are very confident that we prevented things from happening that otherwise would have," Shank said.
Col. Matt Langer, the Minnesota State Patrol Chief, also shared in a statement that it was "a big success."
"Our troopers worked really hard to stop drivers who were breaking the law and endangering themselves and other motorists," Langer said. "This continued enforcement will help make Minnesota roads safer by stopping dangerous driving behaviors."
For those hitting the roads this weekend and summer, Shank said to make sure you are doing so smartly so that everyone is safe and makes it to where they are going.
"Plan ahead and make sure you practice those good driving behaviors so not only that you make it there safely, but everyone on the roadways," Shank said.
Langer says it's simple to drive safe, and all you have to do is four things not to put others at risk.
"Our message remains simple: buckle up, drive the speed limit, plan a sober ride and always pay attention," Langer said.