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Police target busy Highway 7 in campaign to reduce crashes this summer

Minnetonka police are teaming up with colleagues from St. Louis Park, Hopkins, South Lake Minnetonka, Minnetrista and the State Patrol to enforce the safety plan.

MINNETONKA, Minn. — With summer unofficially here, there's a new danger presenting itself. Memorial Day marks the beginning of the 100 deadliest days on the roads. 

According to the State Patrol, of the more than 440 deadly crashes last year, 38% of them happened between Memorial Day and Labor Day. 

To help keep everyone safe this summer, police in the west metro are teaming up to tackle road safety on the heavily used Highway 7 in a new effort called Safe 7 Summer.

"Highway 7 is one of our busiest corridors," said Minnetonka Police Sergeant Steve Kniss. "We get a lot of complaints and traffic accidents."

Sgt. Kniss has patrolled this area for 30 years and says one of the worst intersections is at Highway 7 and County Road 101. It has seen 150 crashes over the last 10 years — about one crash every month. 

"Most of those are associated with distracted driving and drunk driving and those are the ones that you just clearly know that they could have been prevented," said Sgt. Kniss. 

Officers are cracking down on drivers who are speeding, running red lights or not wearing a seatbelt. There are also billboards and social media posts to publicize the Safe 7 Summer campaign. 

"We're all busy and sometimes we have a tendency to forget that, so that's why this campaign is about education as much as it is about enforcement," said Kniss.  

Throughout the summer, AAA said as many as nine teenagers could be involved in fatal crashes across the state. This data comes as traffic fatalities throughout the country have gone up some double digits since the pandemic. 

"I would encourage people to leave some distance, slow down and just relax," said Kniss. "It's a great day and there's no need to be pushing it."


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