MINNEAPOLIS, MN- According to reports, thousands of drivers are refusing to stop when police attempt to pull them over, with data showing that it happened more than 3,100 times in 2020. New research looks into what is behind the uptick in people not following the law.
Troopers are pulling over so many vehicles for speeding that we are only sharing with you stops for speeds over 100 mph. Not good.
• 130 in a 60 on I-94 in Brooklyn Center.
• 119 in a 65 on Hwy. 371 near Fort Ripley.
• 111 in a 65 near Bemidji. Motorist also intoxicated. pic.twitter.com/Df5xDxlrzM
— MN State Patrol (@MnDPS_MSP) November 15, 2021
“Super speeding” is way up in Minnesota, with the Minnesota State Patrol regularly clocking speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. Fatalities are up too and there is something else that is making the roads even more risky. Col. Matt Langer said in a statement:
“People are fleeing from police at a rate we’ve never seen before. This is a huge, huge problem nationwide; it’s just not a Minnesota-specific problem.”
Langer is the state’s top road safety official and he feels the weight of this treacherous trend, adding:
“Twenty-three years ago when I was working the road, a pursuit was an oddity. Today, it’s not uncommon to have two, three in the metro a day.”
One of our troopers in southeastern Minnesota recently stopped a vehicle for going 107 in a 70 mph zone. The driver was also intoxicated and driving without a license. If you spot an impaired driver, immediately call 911.
— MN State Patrol (@MnDPS_MSP) November 23, 2021
For example, Priscillia Roberts, who commutes from Bloomington to North Minneapolis for work, said in a statement:
“You can’t really peg a time, like rush hour or something like that. [It] just kind of seems to be the norm now to go that fast.”
Data from the Eden Prairie Police Department shows 14 people took off during traffic stops in 2020. This year, at least 40 drivers have made a run for it. It is happening in Hopkins too. Hopkins Sgt. Michael Glassberg said in a statement:
“People are being more aggressive and they are fleeing stops. We’ve definitely seen an increase in it.”
A look at the rising issue of speeding on Minnesota roads, including in Eden Prairie: https://t.co/Bpm8xVabuU
— Eden Prairie Local News (EPLN) (@EPLocalNews) September 13, 2021
In Eagan, they are seeing it as well. Eagan Officer Aaron Machtemes said in a statement:
“It used to be very shocking if someone was fleeing in a car. Now, it’s like, ‘OK, they’re fleeing.’ It’s normalized.”
The trend is clearly shown in the data, so why aren’t people pulling over? WCCO at the University of Minnesota campus went in search of the answer. Dr. Nicole Morris is helping lead a research study on the psychology of why people are not pulling over.
One of our troopers stopped 36 speeding vehicles in ONE DAY earlier this month. He issued 27 tickets. This is not OK. Slow down. It could save a life — even yours. pic.twitter.com/H1ajjq0JaJ
— MN State Patrol (@MnDPS_MSP) October 19, 2021
In the wake of the deaths of Philando Castile and George Floyd, the researchers asked if police distrust was a factor. Morris said:
“Certainly there is a stress and fear response when people are being pulled over by the police, but often what we see in the data is that they are fleeing to avoid a greater charge.”
Awful excuse: I was “only” going 90 mph. One of our troopers recently stopped a vehicle for driving 105 in a 65 mph zone near Crookston. The driver stated he was trying to catch up to the vehicle in front of him and thought he was "only" going 90. He was issued a citation.
— MN State Patrol (@MnDPS_MSP) November 6, 2021
The data shows that drivers who take off are primarily in stolen cars, are wanted for assault or have warrants and feel they have nothing to lose. Morris added:
“So, it’s not so much a decision to flee or not flee, but get caught or not get caught. So, they are making a calculated choice to flee to try and avoid a greater charge.”
One thing not shown in most videos is just because the drivers take off, it doesn’t mean that they are getting away. The Minnesota State Patrol is looking for getaway drivers by air and other new technologies and trying to start making more people stop. Langer said:
“There’s no question that police pursuits are dangerous to everybody involved. They are dangerous to the people fleeing, the officer involved and the general public. We need to dig into it as a state, as a profession.”