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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Lucy Rehm (DFL)

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Release: The ‘Safe Roads Act’ aims to thwart rise in traffic fatalities in Minnesota

Thursday, March 23, 2023

St. Paul, MN – Yesterday, the Minnesota House Transportation Committee discussed legislation to address the sharp rise in roadway and traffic fatalities across the state. Representative Lucy Rehm (DFL-Chanhassen) is leading efforts to create a new council to coordinate traffic safety improvements across state agencies and reverse this trend. In 2021, Minnesota had the deadliest year on roads in over a decade with nearly 500 deaths.

 “Minnesotans deserve to be safe on our highways and roads,” said Rep. Rehm. “The goal of a Traffic Safety Council is to improve state traffic safety with a coordinated and data driven approach.”

The council would be responsible for advising the governor and state agencies about policy, programs, and services affecting traffic safety, as well as better coordinating and expanding the work of the Toward Zero Deaths Program (TZD). This includes public education, needed research, and local traffic safety grants. 

Council members will consist of a wide variety of agencies and stakeholder organizations representing public safety, transportation, health, human services, Tribal, TZD, disability, local law enforcement, municipal, county, and engineering interests.

“Minnesota’s traffic safety statistics are alarming and it’s critical to take bold and decisive action to make sure everyone gets to where they are going safely, no matter their mode of travel,” Rep. Rehm continued.

The ‘Safe Roads Act’ also contains safety provisions such as the ‘Hands Free’ law clarification, safe road zones, a legislative report on speed safety cameras, and an annual traffic safety report. 

The bill is being considered for future inclusion to a larger House transportation package of legislation and the council has also been included in the Governor’s budget proposal. The companion bill is traveling in the Minnesota Senate.