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Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | lmelton@d.umn.edu | (218) 726-8830
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November 6, 2011
Susan Banovetz | Director of External Affairs | 218 726-6141 | banovetz@d.umn.edu
Christiana Kapsner | Public relations assistant | 218 726-8830 | ckapsner@d.umn.edu
Sean Huls | Sergeant of police | UMD Campus Police | 218 726-7000 | shuls@d.umn.edu


Towards Zero Death: Grant Enforcement Project

Local partners in Duluth are teaming together to enforce a safe environment for Duluth and the surrounding areas with a "Towards Zero Death" (TZD) grant enforcement project. On board are UMD, Duluth, the St. Louis County sheriff's office, Proctor, Hermantown, and Floodwood.

The TZD initiative is supported by a statewide advertising campaign and the new national DWI enforcement slogan, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."

A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes: education, enforcement, engineering, and emergency trauma response.

"We have increased the presence of proper signage that reminds citizens to not drink and drive," said Sean Huls, sergeant of police on the UMD campus. "This is about more than just arresting people driving under the influence. It's about education. We want our roads to be safe because that means people are safe."

An on-campus sign that reads "Focus While Driving" is a part of the initiative that is a three-fold awareness project: speed control, DWI's, and seatbelt use. A fourth element, texting while driving, will be added to the campaign in the future.

Formerly known as "Safe and Sober," UMD was allocated $10,000 last year from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and coordinated by the Office of Traffic Safety federal and state grants. The grant was used for campus-wide signs, banners, and posters; officer enforcement was increased; and a higher visibility of patrol cars and officers during large events and holiday weekends was implemented. The combined effort by the county sheriff's offices and city police departments to conduct enhanced DWI patrols was a main focus in 2010. The local partners saturated specific roadways where impaired driving was likely.

The effort is credited with helping reduce traffic deaths. There have been 202 traffic deaths so far in 2011, compared to 247 at this time in 2010.

Participating Agencies:
UMD, St. Louis County, Minnesota State Patrol, and Cities of: Breitung, Duluth, Ely, Eveleth, Gilbert, Hermantown, Hibbing, Proctor, and Virginia

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