Be careful on roads this holiday weekend

According to the United States Department of Labor, the meaning of Labor Day is to recognize the social and economic achievement of the American worker who strengthens our country and contributes to our prosperity and well-being.

It is a well-deserved break for the workers and their families in Sherburne County.

It is my hope for you that your travels are safe, the days are mild and laughter surrounds you.

However, there is a different face to Labor Day – that is the cost to our community and state for motor vehicle crashes and its impact on our economy. It was estimated that the total loss for motor vehicle crashes in the state of Minnesota for 2011 was $1,481,240,300. Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts-2011 (Minnesota Department of Public Safety 2012 at p.1)

The contributing factors in this loss are curable. In single-car crashes (accounting for about one-third of the crashes), illegal or unsafe speed is the highest contributing factor for folks under the age of 80. (Id. at p. 7) In multiple-car crashes for those of us under the age of 64, inattention or distraction is the most cited contributing factor. (Id.) In 2010, Sherburne County had 15 traffic fatalities in our county. (Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts – 2010)

We cannot afford to lose good people.

On this Labor Day, pay attention to that which is around you and slow down — at home and on the road.

Kathleen A. Heaney

Sherburne County Attorney

Sherburne County Safe Roads Coalition Member