University of Minnesota Driven to Discover

News

Rural Safety E-News

Rural Safety News is a quarterly electronic newsletter

2013

States driven toward 'zero death' crash goal 
Chicago Tribune, February 18, 2013
University of Minnesota research found that those states, including Minnesota, that have worked the longest and most actively to reduce deaths from traffic crashes have been the most successful. Lee W. Munnich, Jr., lead researcher and director of the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety, is quoted.

2012

Police crackdown can curb texting while driving, teens say
USA Today, August 28, 2012
Teenagers say that being in a crash while texting and driving is the single most effective way to reduce the deadly practice, followed closely by knowing someone who was involved in such a crash, according to a new survey of teen attitudes commissioned by State Farm. More than 80 percent of teens believe that tougher penalties for those caught texting while driving and heavier police enforcement also are deterrents.

Minnesota primary seat belt law saves lives and money
GHSA Directions in Highway Safety, Summer 2012
The University of Minnesota’s Center for Excellence in Rural Safety has published a report looking at the impacts of Minnesota’s primary seat belt law. The study estimates that the primary seat belt law has resulted in between 68 and 92 fewer deaths and between 320 and 550 fewer severe injuries in the two years since the law went into effect.

U.S. Department of Transportation Releases New “Faces of Distracted Driving” Video
USDOT, August 8, 2012
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has released the latest video in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Faces of Distracted Driving” series, featuring the story of John T. Gordon from Marion, Ohio. The video series aims to raise awareness about the potentially tragic consequences of texting and using cell phones while driving by sharing the stories of families who have been affected by this deadly epidemic.

Ticket tally dips in Minnesota seat belt push
StarTribune, June 11, 2012
Fewer drivers were ticketed for violating Minnesota's mandatory seat-belt law during a recent enforcement campaign than in past years, indicating that more motorists are buckling up, authorities said. The "Click It or Ticket" campaigns are a visible way to enforce the law, said Frank Douma, CERS researcher and co-author of a recent University of Minnesota study on the impacts of the primary seat belt law. 

Seat belt safety campaign plays on laws of physics
KARE-11 News, May 21, 2012
The latest seat belt safety campaign in Minnesota delves into the unbreakable laws of physics, comparing the impact of an unbelted crash to a fall from a tall building. U of M physics professor Dave Dahlberg made the point about seat belt safety and the law of gravity on a Minneapolis rooftop. Dahlberg helped the Department of Public Safety and the Minnesota State Patrol roll out a new seat belt enforcement effort.

‘Click It Or Ticket’ Campaign Starts In Minnesota
WCCO-4 News, May 21, 2012
New digital billboards went up Monday with the simulated image of someone plunging from a building. It’s a dramatic part of the “Click It or Ticket” campaign that started Monday and goes until June 3. University of Minnesota Physics professor Dan Dahlberg points out the seat belt is one of the only safety features we have control over.

Click It or Ticket time in Isanti County
Isanti County News, May 17, 2012
Law enforcement agencies in Isanti County will enforce the state’s primary seat belt law during the campaign, which is saving lives, according to a University of Minnesota study released in March. The study reported the law has resulted in 68 fewer deaths, 320 fewer injuries and $45 million in avoided hospital charges since enacted three years ago. 

Rural road safety urged during spring planting season
Southwest Farm Press, April 12, 2012
A University of Minnesota study indicates most Americans don't seem to understand the risk on rural highways. For instance, 69 percent of Americans responded to the recent study indicating that they felt safe on multilane freeways in urban areas, while 79 percent felt safe on two-lane highways in rural areas. “Americans are taking unnecessary risks on rural roads,” says Lee Munnich, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS), which sponsored the survey.

DPS: Seat belt law results in fewer deaths
Chanhassen Villager, March 27, 2012
Minnesota's primary seat belt law resulted in 68 fewer deaths and 320 fewer severe injuries from 2009 to 2011, according to a new study recently released by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety. The study, conducted by the University of Minnesota's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS) on behalf of DPS, also found that the reduction in deaths and injuries has resulted in $45 million dollars in avoided hospital charges, including nearly $10 million in taxpayer dollars that would have paid for Medicare and Medicaid charges.

Seat belt law: 68 fewer die on road since '09, University of Minnesota
Pioneer Press, March 26, 2012
“The stronger seat belt law is keeping a lot of Minnesotans out of hospitals and morgues, and it will continue to do so for years to come,” the U's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety director Lee Munnich said in a statement.

Minnesota's Seat Belt Law Results in Fewer Deaths and Severe Injuries
Shakopee Patch, March 26, 2012
“The stronger seat belt law is keeping a lot of Minnesotans out of hospitals and morgues, and it will continue to do so for years to come,” said CERS Director Lee Munnich.

Minnesota's stronger seat belt law equals fewer dead
StarTribune, March 26, 2012
Minnesota's strengthened seat belt law appears to be saving lives, according to a University of Minnesota study released on Monday. Fewer people have died or suffered injuries since 2009, when it became a “primary offense” not to wear a seat belt, the study said. The study was conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Excellence in Rural Safety on behalf of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Office of Traffic Safety.

Cable barriers might have saved four teens killed on I-94
StarTribune, February 23, 2012
Steel safety cables that state officials have been working to install in many highway medians could have saved the four young women killed Monday in a crash on a rural stretch of Interstate 94 near Alexandria, traffic experts say. Lee Munnich, a rural highway safety expert at the University of Minnesota, says that the location of Monday's crash “seems like an appropriate place for a barrier like that. The cables are the only thing I think could've have stopped” the women's car.

2011

Unbelted, at risk on outstate roads
StarTribune, October 20, 2011
Although seat belt use in Minnesota has reached a high of nearly 93 percent, motorists in greater Minnesota are using seat belts at much lower rates.

Toward Zero Deaths collects regional seat belt data
Marshall Independent, October 11, 2011
County officials in southwest Minnesota have been working to provide that baseline data in a survey this fall, an announcement from Toward Zero Deaths said Monday. Toward Zero Deaths, an inter-agency partnership working to reduce traffic fatalities across the state, has been gathering information on seat belt use in the region.

Do Americans Oppose Controversial Evidence-Based Road Safety Policies?
Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, August 11, 2011 (Volume 2213)
Six safety improvement systems based on legislation have proved to reduce rural roadway fatalities. But their legislative enactment has been limited in part by a perception of journalists and policy makers that the policies are controversial and unpopular with the general public. However, a national public opinion survey found that an overwhelming proportion of Americans support all six policies.

Reducing Crash Fatalities on Rural Roadways
Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board
, August 11, 2011 (Volume 2213)
Many factors that contribute to fatal crashes are related to human behavior. One way to adjust these behaviors is to enact and enforce legislation-based safety improvement measures (LSIMs). This paper describes the research-based rural safety policy improvement index (RSPII) feasibility investigation, summarizes the six-step RSPII framework, presents the national results from the framework application, discusses the challenges related to the framework application, and gives recommendations for using and improving the RSPII framework.

4th of July Independence Day is Deadliest American Holiday
HULIQ, July 1, 2011
There are more traffic accidents in the summer and July 4th increases the stats. A survey done last year by University of Minnesota's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety found that most Americans' sense of seasonal driving risk is skewed. Winter driving conditions have traveler's with their antennas up and alert about road conditions and fellow drivers, but the guard goes down during the summer.

Americans are driving more, but traffic deaths down
USA Today, March 31, 2011
Traffic fatalities in the U.S. fell to an all-time low in 2010 even as Americans drove more miles, according to new projections by the federal government. It's too early to explain why deaths keep falling, says Lee Munnich, director of the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota. "Some of the credit can go to federal and state efforts to reduce fatalities," more states toughening seat belt laws "and the effect on fatalities as more people buckle up," he says.

Road trippers may be soon able to plot safest route online

USA Today, February 23, 2011
Savvy trip planners who line up the best hotel, resort and restaurant deals before they hit the road soon could add another feature to their itinerary: the safest highways en route. n interactive website from the University of Minnesota's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety that allows drivers to plot fatal crashes on a map is very popular. SafeRoadMaps.org was founded in 2008 and received more than 10 million hits by mid-2010, says center director Lee Munnich.

Sobercabs sprout outstate

StarTribune, March 2, 2011
Cities are turning to "safe rides" to keep impaired drivers off the roads. The program is a major success. "People are more likely to drink and drive on rural roads than urban roads," said Lee Munnich, director of the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota. "It's really a tough problem, getting at those people."

Safe Cab program rolls forward in Pine County

The Pine City Pioneer, January 18. 2011
A profile of Pine County's Safe Cab program, which has increased in popularity over the past few months, and contributed to a drop in DWI arrests from 168 in 2008 to about 120 in 2010.

2010

Despite high death rate, rural drivers feel safer

Payson Roundup (Arizona), September 3, 2010
As Rim braces for weekend crunch, study shows people misjudge risk of rural highways. Turns out, drivers feel safe and relaxed on rural highways, but they’re actually more likely to get killed in a crash than when hurtling down stress-inducing urban interchanges, according to a study released this month by researchers from the University of Minnesota.

Study: Drivers more prone to risk-taking on rural highways

Minnesota Public Radio, September 3, 2010
The perception that rural roadways are safer is common. But Minnesotans are much more likely to die on rural highways than on roads in urban areas where most people live, according to a traffic safety survey done by the university's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety.

Rural Roadways: A National Safety Dichotomy (podcast, 9 minutes)

Texas Department of Transportation, August 20, 2010
A recent survey by the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota highlighted a glaring dichotomy: motorists' feelings of security on rural roadways are almost completely at odds with the facts. This week's episode is the first a two-part series on rural roadway safety, as seen from a national perspective and from our perspective here in Texas. For more on the national perspective and its implications, TxDOT public information officer Larry Krantz spoke with CERS director Lee Munnich.

Using tech to curb deaths on Minnesota's roadways

Minnesota Public Radio, August 10, 2010
University of Minnesota ITS Institute Director Max Donath and HumanFIRST Director Mike Manser discuss a range of technologies that save lives on the road, from digital maps and devices that keep drivers from drifting out of their lane to phones that alert parents if a young driver is violating Minnesota's graduated driver's license rules by being out too late or having too many passengers in the car. Seat belts are a crucial safety technology, as well.

Teen Driver Support System (TDSS) (video, 5 minutes)

August 6, 2010
The ITS Institute at the University of Minnesota has developed a new version of the Teen Driver Support System (TDSS), a GPS-enabled smart phone mounted on the dashboard to provide the driver real-time visual and audio feedback about driving performance.

Drivers have 'false sense of security' on rural highways, survey indicates

MinnPost, August 5, 2010
If you live in rural Minnesota—or if you're a city dweller who takes to country roads during the sweet summer months—you need to heed this new study at the University of Minnesota. Americans feel safer on rural roads, more free to talk on the phone, step on the gas, or sip a forbidden beer. After all, hardly anyone is around to get in your way. Right? Big mistake!

"CrashHelp" GIS tool receives best paper award at ISCRAM2010

Tom Horan, visiting professor at the Humphrey Institute and CERS researcher, and his research team received the Best Paper Award for “CrashHelp: A GIS Tool for Managing Emergency Medical Responses to Motor Vehicle Crashes,” presented at the Seventh International Conference on Information Systems on Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM2010), May 2-5, 2010.

U of M survey finds drivers unaware of summer dangers

University of Minnesota Moment, July 5, 2010
We tend to think of winter as the most dangerous season for travel, but did you know that one in three traffic fatalities occurs during the summer? Only 8 percent of Americans realize that summer driving is actually the most perilous, according to a new national survey from Lee Munnich and the U of M’s Center for Excellence in Rural Safety.

Holiday Traffic: Most dangerous time

KARE 11 News, July 2 , 2010
Minnesotans headed to the roads in expected record numbers on Friday in anticipation of the Independence Day holiday. The annual rush to the lakes and cabins comes on the heels of a University of Minnesota Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS) study that hopes to put the brakes on traffic fatalities…"It is particularly important on the Fourth of July which is the peak for traffic fatalities. It is the worst day, or time, of the year. It is the days around the Fourth of July as well," said Lee Munnich of the U of M.

Summer = dangerous driving

Deseret News, July 2, 2010
Today, I wrote a story about travel over this Fourth of July weekend, which is expected to be up a whopping 19 percent throughout the West… This week, there's a new study from the University of Minnesota's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety, saying that the summer, not the winter as most people believe, is the deadliest for traffic.

Fourth of July Is the Most Dangerous Driving Day of the Year

Asylum, July 2, 2010
The summertime is the most dangerous season for driving, with the risk of getting into an accident being highest on the Fourth of July…"Americans' sense of seasonal driving risk is skewed," Tom Horan of the University of Minnesota's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS), which conducted the survey,  told Live Science. "We are wary of winter driving but let our guard down during summer holidays, when fatalities are most likely to occur."

Fourth of July: Most Dangerous Day of the Year

Discovery, July 2, 2010
I'm from Wisconsin and now live in Massachusetts, and so I'm quite familiar with driving on snowy roads. Even with all of my driving experience in adverse conditions, slippery ice and slush on roads make me nervous, and I tend to use extra caution when traveling…So I would expect that wintertime is a dangerous time to be out on the road. A study from the University of Minnesota's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety found that 83 percent of Americans think the same. But, in fact, the opposite is true.

Americans underestimate risks of driving on summer holidays and rural roads

Scientific American, July 2, 2010
Each year, Independence Day arrives with an array of festivities that make us vulnerable to a number of potential hazards: bug bites, burns from backyard grills, food poisoning from cookouts, and injuries from fireworks. But driving?…In fact, a recent survey of more than 1,200 U.S. drivers conducted by the University of Minnesota's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS) showed that 83 percent think winter is "the most dangerous season to be driving on rural roadways." By contrast, only 8 percent of survey takers chose summer as the most dangerous driving period.

U of M updates map of rural crash 'hot zones'

KARE 11 News, July 1 , 2010
Experts at the University of Minnesota want to make July 4th vacations safer for drivers with an updated map of fatal traffic crashes on rural roads in the past five years. The university's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety has updated its map at www.saferoadmaps.org with hopes that drivers will be extra careful in those areas.

4th Of July Weekend Often The Deadliest Time For Driving

Newsroom America, July 1, 2010
The vast majority of Americans interviewed in a new national poll believe winter is the most dangerous time for driving, but a study has found the Fourth of July weekend is in fact often the deadliest time… In survey findings released today, researchers at the University of Minnesota's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS) discovered that an overwhelming 83 percent of Americans consider winter to be "the most dangerous season to be driving on rural roadways."

Fourth of July most dangerous driving day

UPI News, June 30, 2010
The vast majority of U.S. adults say winter is the most dangerous time for driving but the Fourth of July weekend is the deadliest time, a survey indicates. The survey by the University of Minnesota's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety found 83 percent of Americans consider winter to be the most dangerous season to be driving on rural roadways, while 8 percent say summer, 4 percent say spring and 4 percent say fall. "Americans' sense of seasonal driving risk is skewed," research director Tom Horan says in a statement. "We are wary of winter driving, but let our guard down during summer holidays, when fatalities are most likely to occur."

Survey finds drivers mistakenly believe winter is most dangerous travel time

UMNews, June 30, 2010
The vast majority of Americans interviewed in a new national poll believe winter is the most dangerous time for driving, but the truth is this coming Fourth of July weekend often is the deadliest time.

U Of M Study: Summer Driving The Most Dangerous

WCCO - TV, June 28, 2010
The University of Minnesota did a national poll where they asked, "When do you think the most dangerous time of year to drive is?"..."In general, you have a lot more fatalities in the summer months," said Lee Munnich of the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota.

U of M study: People don't mind big brother

FOX 9 News, June 5, 2010
By the number of drivers who contest their traffic tickets, you'd think there'd be total disdain for the number of squad cars on the road. Not so. It turns out, perhaps the opposite. According to a new University of Minnesota national survey, people are more open to different kinds of enforcement to keep themselves and others safe.

Investigators: Kids, Cars & Country Roads

FOX 9, May 23, 2010
This spring has been a deadly one on rural roads, especially for teen drivers. Ten teens have died, seven of whom were not wearing seat belts. In this report, FOX 9 focuses on teen drivers, seat belt use and rural roads. It also features an interview with Lee Munnich, director of the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota.

Rural roads: Two lanes and treacherous

StarTribune, May 18, 2010
A rash of fatal crashes in April highlights the ever-present dangers of Minnesota's rural roads. A lot of times people think they are safer on rural roads, so they take more risks," said Lee Munnich, director of the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota.

Nighttime Driving is Biggest Danger for Teen Drivers, Study Says

Washington Post, May 6, 2010
Driving after dark is the single most-dangerous risk a teenage driver can take and is more likely to result in death than drinking, speeding or disregarding a seat belt, according to a national 10-year study of highway fatalities released Thursday.

National safety standards sought for teen drivers

USA Today, May 4, 2010
Three senators are pushing legislation to create a national graduated driver licensing (GDL) law. They say it would replace a patchwork of state laws with a single national standard that encompasses proven safety policies for novice drivers. Fresh scrutiny surrounds Minnesota's GDL law after 18 people, many of them teens, were killed in one week in highway crashes.

U turns to technology to aid teen drivers and their parents

StarTribune, May 1, 2010
U of M researchers are hoping intervention technology will make teenagers better drivers. The Teen Driver Support System goes well beyond seat belts and cell phones.

3 crashes kill 5; 8-day total: 16 dead

StarTribune, April 27, 2010
In one of the latest of a series of horrific accidents across the state, a Hastings woman and two other people were killed Monday afternoon when their SUV was broadsided by a beer truck in Vermillion Township in Dakota County. This crash, as well as a two-vehicle accident Monday in Polk County that killed one person and a fatal one-car accident in the south metro area Sunday, brought the number of people killed in Minnesota traffic accidents in the past eight days to 16.

New tech safety sign on Highway 53 in Minong

In an attempt to prevent fatal car crashes, the Wisconsin DOT installed a first of its kind traffic sign at one of northern Wisconsin’s most deadly intersections. Engineers and psychologists at the University of Minnesota developed the Rural Intersection Collision Avoidance System as a part of a USDOT plan to reduce rural car accidents.

Traffic deaths down, but not low enough

USA Today, April 12, 2010
A growing number of highway safety advocates and transportation officials are pushing the U.S. to adopt a goal of zero traffic fatalities. Minnesota is one of six states that have responded by adopting a statewide Toward Zero Deaths program. Proponents of the initiative, such as Bernie Arseneau of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, say that technological safety advances in automobiles will be a major factor in reaching this goal. "I believe that technology is going to get us to a point where zero deaths is achievable," Arseneau said.

Traffic fatalities for 2009 reach record low

U.S. Department of Transportation, March 11, 2010
The number of overall traffic fatalities reported at the end of 2009 reached the lowest level since 1954. According to data projections, the fatality rate reached the lowest level ever recorded, and the highway death count dropped 8.9 percent from 2008.

Counting the dead along America's killer roads

Red Deer Advocate (The Associated Press), March 9, 2010
Sometimes the most seemingly safe roads, a country lane or straight desert highway, can be the most deadly. Lee Munnich, director of the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota, stated, "People may feel more comfortable drinking and driving in rural areas, thinking that they are not as likely to get caught... when people are in crashes, they are less likely to be wearing a seatbelt in rural areas." Munnich's group has created SafeRoadMaps.org, a Web site that identifies "hot spots" where accidents occur at suspiciously high levels.

Rural fatal crashes — reasonable solutions

The Police Chief, February 2010
Rural fatal crashes can be mitigated effectively by utilizing the four Es of highway safety: education, emergency medical services, enforcement, and engineering. Installing shoulder rumble strips, improving signage on horizontal curves, and instituting low-staffing sobriety checkpoints are some of the tools that can be used to increase safety on rural roads.

Rural fatal crashes — a grim scene

The Police Chief, January 2010
Rural roads carry only about a third of U.S. traffic, and yet they account for more than half of its traffic fatalities. Like urban crashes, those on rural roads often involve speed, alcohol-impairment, lack of occupant protection, and large trucks, but all of them occur in greater numbers.

The Oprah Show: America's New Deadly Obsession

January 18, 2010
"The Oprah Show" tackles the topic of distracted driving with stories about the impact of driving and cell phones.

In the fight against drunken driving—miles to go

StarTribune, January-February, 2010
Every year, hundreds of Minnesotans are killed or severely injured in crashes caused by drunken drivers. Another 35,000 are convicted of DWI. In a series of stories beginning Jan. 16, a team of StarTribune reporters is taking an in-depth look at the scourge of drunken driving in Minnesota, the victims it claims, and the public safety questions it raises. In addition, the StarTribune is highlighting at least one drunken-driving case in print and online each week and hosting an ongoing community discussion online about what can be done in Minnesota to make our roads safer.

2009

How safe are our roads?

National Public Radio, November 23-29, 2009
National Public Radio aired a series of stories about highway safety, exploring topics such as vehicle technology, road design, infrastructure, and driver behavior.

Editorial: A push for safety on rural roads

StarTribune, November 29, 2009
With many motorists planning trips for Christmas and New Year's, it's worth spending some time with SafeRoadMaps.org, a Web site created by the University of Minnesota's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety. The stark statistics on rural road fatalities show the value of the center's efforts. ... even though only 23 percent of the U.S. population can be classified as rural, fatalities on those roads accounted for 57 percent of all traffic deaths.

Danger spots on U.S. 113 overhauled

The News Journal (Wilmington, DE), November 8, 2009
Lee Munnich, CERS director, and Keith Knapp, CERS director of transportation safety engineering, are quoted in this article about why more traffic fatalities occur in rural areas and how current research will improve the safety of rural highway intersections.

Rural Roads Are More Dangerous Than They Look

New York Times - Wheels Blog, October 9, 2009
With foliage season about to start and the Columbus Day weekend here, many people will be heading to the country and driving on back roads... "While most travel occurs in urban areas, there are more fatalities in rural areas," said Thomas A. Horan, research director at the University of Minnesota's Center for Excellence in Rural Safety.

More motorists die on rural roads

USA TODAY, October 6, 2009
Lee Munnich, director of the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota, is quoted on how many more traffic fatalities (56% in 2008) happen in rural rather than urban roads.

Drivers and their toys: Unsafe at any speed?

StarTribune, September 30, 2009
Federal officials, transportation experts, and academics are convening in Washington, D.C., for a first-ever summit on how to combat distracted driving.... "This is not a new topic," said Michael Manser, who's attending the Washington summit in his role as director of the HumanFIRST program at the U's Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute.

State report: "Rumble strips" on state highways cut accidents by nearly 60 percent

The Seattle Times, September 18, 2009
An analysis of state highways has found that centerline rumble strips, the grooves cut into pavement on 2,000 miles of the state's two-lane highways, has reduced serious injury and fatal crossover collisions by 57 percent.

Engineers take a new line on road safety

Minnesota Public Radio, September 13, 2009
A statewide effort to reduce fatalities on rural roads is emphasizing simple, low-cost solutions, such as wider stripes on the edge of roads, angled pavement dropoffs, and reflective signs on curves.

Road Warriors: State and local engineers join forces to lower fatalities in rural areas

Public Works Magazine, May 1, 2009
Freeborn County Engineer Susan Miller took it upon herself to establish and lead Toward Zero Deaths initiatives and help create a regional effort in southeast Minnesota and in her county.

Lots of deer. Lots of crashes. What to do?

Pioneer Press, June 19, 2009
Minnesota has so many deer, MnDOT is abandoning those ubiquitous yellow warning signs and looking for more effective ways to keep drivers safe.

New law will enforce seat belt use

Minnesota Daily, May 26, 2009
Starting June 9, police can pull people over for simply not wearing a seat belt.

Stepped-up patrol efforts help save lives

USA Today, February 4, 2009
Nearly every state that recorded a drop in traffic deaths last year attributes part of the decline to Americans driving less. But highway patrol chiefs, traffic safety directors and independent experts say other factors also contributed.


2008

Safe Cab Program Cutting Down On DWIs

WCCO, December 30, 2008
In the past year, Isanti County has cut its DWI arrests by nearly 40 percent, with the help of its Safe Cab program.

Rumble strips are raising grumbles

StarTribune, November 9, 2008
Seen as a way to improve safety along rural highways, they have instead sparked noise complaints from residents and fixes by the counties that installed them.

Newest Source of Teen Ire: Webcams in Their Cars

Washington Post, October 24, 2008
Maryland study involving webcams for teen drivers yields similar results to a prior Minneapolis study.

University Launches Rural Safety Partnership with Isanti County

Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs Regionalities Blog , October 23, 2008
The partnership is the first of its kind and represents a new approach to bringing the policy, technical and outreach expertise of the University of Minnesota to support state and local government in tackling high fatality rates in rural areas.

County joins national effort promoting safety on rural roads

Isanti County News, October 22, 2008
The University of Minnesota’s national Center of Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS) announced a partnership with Isanti County to promote rural road safety locally and nationally.

County chosen as pilot site to promote safety

Isanti-Chisago County Star, October 21, 2008
Isanti County has been selected as a pilot to promote rural road safety by the University of Minnesota National Center of Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS).

A cell phone call, then a scream, then silence

StarTribune, October 15, 2008
A 21-year-old motorist getting directions over her cell phone was killed when she rolled her vehicle in Stearns County. The state reports that distraction played a role in at least 15 percent of all fatal crashes during 2005-07, resulting in 240 traffic deaths. Another 1,163 motorists suffered life-altering injuries as a result of distracted-driving crashes in this same period.

Teen lives cut short on the road

The Charleston Gazette, September 28, 2008
Between 1996 and 2006, West Virginia's fatality rate for both young drivers and all drivers has been above the national average. In 2006, that rate for young people was 70 percent higher than the national average, according to federal statistics.

USDOT Awards $14.7 Million for Rural Roads Safety

August 27, 2008

FHWA's Office of Safety's Guidance Memorandum on Consideration and Implementation of Proven Safety Countermeasures

July 10, 2008
This guidance memorandum from FHWA lists safety measures with proven effectiveness, and includes information about where and when to apply them, as well as current FHWA technical contacts for each topic.

CERS Director of Training and Outreach Robert Johns testifies at Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

CTS Director Robert Johns testified at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing entitled "Saving Lives on Our Nation's Highways."

New online road safety mapping tool: SafeRoadMaps.org

CERS researchers have developed a new, visually innovative tool that maps out roadway fatalities across the nation... and in your community.

The new Rural Highway Safety Clearinghouse provides information about safety on our nation's rural roads

The Rural Highway Safety Clearinghouse is a new, easy-to-use starting point for information about safety on our nation's rural roads.

CERS Director Lee Munnich on the Rural Transportation Safety Clearinghouse

AgriTalk, July 7, 2008

Buckling up

Alabama Times Daily, January 21, 2008
State statistics show about 50 percent of drivers use seat belts on Alabama's rural county roads. In a study by the University of Minnesota Center for Rural Safety, 57 percent of fatalities occurred on rural roads, even though only 21 percent of the nation's population is generally considered rural.


2007

U of M study says safety attitudes behind the wheel are vastly different between rural and urban drivers

University of Minnesota video news release, December 18, 2007
University researchers have found that rural drivers are more complacent when it comes to common safety practices on the road than their urban counterparts. Research fellow Mick Rakauskas, with the HumanFIRST Program in the ITS Institute, discovered that drivers in rural areas practiced riskier driving behaviors and were less aware of the danger in doing so, especially when it comes to driving while under the influence and not using a seatbelt.

During Biggest Travel Weekend, Be Aware of States Lacking Strong Seat Belt Laws (2 MB PDF)

CERS news release, November 20, 2007
Thanksgiving marks the heaviest travel weekend of the year and that means large increases the number of fatal car crashes particularly in rural areas. The national Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS) at the University of Minnesota today released an analysis showing a strong connection between states lacking strong seat belt laws and states with a high proportion of fatalities on rural roads.

CERS Institute explores public health aspects of rural transportation safety

From CTS Report, September, 2007
Speakers explored the connections between rural transportation safety and community health at the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety's annual Summer Institute, held at the University of Vermont (UVM) in Burlington on July 30 and 31.

Where is the most dangerous place to travel over the holiday? (116 KB PDF)

CERS news release, June 28, 2007
Just in time for the most dangerous days of the year to drive—July 3 and 4—the national Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS) at the University of Minnesota today released a list of the states where Americans are more likely to die in a traffic crash on a rural road.

2006 Minnesota highway toll lowest in 60 years

From StarTribune, June 20, 2007
Minnesota recorded 494 traffic-related fatalities in 2006, the fewest number deaths on state roads in more than 60 years, according to a report released by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Eagan Students Participate In New Driving Study

From WCCO, May 28, 2007
Some Twin Cities parents have a high-tech way to see what their teen drivers are doing on the road. A couple dozen students at Eagan High School will be part of a first of its kind study of teens driving in an urban environment.

Less jail for fatal DWIs spurs anger, fuels debate

From StarTribune, April 29, 2007
Despite protests, some judges say intervention - instead of straight jail time - has helped keep more DWI offenders from driving drunk again.

Improved deer signage being tested

Minnesota LTAP Exchange newsletter, Winter 2007

New safety information resource: Real-Time Projected Annual U.S. Vehicle Related Fatalities and Crashes

Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE)

16 states see road deaths slashed

From USA Today, January 30, 2007

Police: crackdown on speeding helped reduce traffic fatalities

From The Boston Globe, January 8, 2007

StarTribune Editorial: Continue to reduce state's traffic deaths

From StarTxribune, January 4, 2007
Legislature should push for tougher seat-belt enforcement.


2006

Center for Excellence in Rural Safety presentation (2.4 MB PDF, page 18)

From 2006 Toward Zero Deaths Conference Proceedings

Danger lurks on rural roads

Duluth News Tribune, September 19, 2006

Summer Institute addresses themes, strategies for rural safety center

CTS Report, September 2006

Experts Address Rural Highway Safety, Research Needs (112 KB PDF, page 3)

The AASHTO Journal, Weekly Transportation Report, July 28, 2006


2005

State and Local Policy Program to study rural safety

Humphrey Institute News, November/December 2005

SAFETEA-LU: CTS to receive $16 million; Rural Safety Center established at Humphrey Institute

CTS Report, October 2005

Oberstar hears rural safety research at special briefing

CTS Report, April 2005

Center for Excellence in Rural Safety | University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN 55455 | Location & Contact Information