Impact of Exempting Low-Level Speed Violations

Principal Investigator(s):

Frank Douma, Director, State & Local Policy, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Project summary:

This research responded to a request from the Minnesota State Legislature that was included in amendments to Minn. Stat. 171.12, passed in the 2012 legislative session. Specifically, the work examined the impacts of Minnesota Statute 171.12, Subd. 6, better known as the "Dimler Amendment," which calls for certain low-level violations of certain speed limits to be omitted from a violator's driving record. The statute called for a report from the Commissioners of Transportation, Public Safety, and Health on the impacts of increasing the Dimler qualifying range from 5 mph to 10 mph in 60 mph speed zones on travel reliability, travel efficiency, safety, and privacy. Based on the findings of these analyses, the impacts of the 2012 changes were negligible.

More significantly, however, in the course of this project, the researchers came upon findings that led them to question the efficacy of the law itself. The public appears to be unaware of the law's existence, which may be compounded by the fact that the law lays on top of Minnesota's already complex speed laws and regulations. Further, the exemptions may be benefiting a small, but significant, number of repeat offenders and complicating regulation of commercial vehicle drivers.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2014044
  • Start date: 11/2013
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Driver Performance and Behavior