Drivers to face speed trailer in school zones

By Janice Gregorson

Drivers in Rochester will get their own back-to-school lesson next week in an effort to get drivers to slow down in school zones.

Rochester Police Capt. Rick Krueger said the department has purchased a speed trailer that will be used daily beginning next week to help educate -- and alert -- drivers about how fast they are driving in school zones.

"We want to reinforce the fact that schools are open and motorists need to watch their speeds," he said.


The trailer will be moved from one area to another in the city.

Officers could be assigned to the areas the next day doing follow-up traffic enforcement.

About a growing traffic concern in Rochester, Lt. Darryl Peterson of the Minnesota State Patrol said the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is planning a study on accidents that have occurred in the U.S. 52 corridor between St. Paul and Rochester.

In the Rochester area, a string of recent accidents, including one fatality at the U.S. 52-75th Street intersection, have raised safety concerns for that stretch of road.

Between Jan. 1, 1998 and Dec. 31, 2001, there were 42 traffic accidents at that intersection and one fatality. Since Jan. 1, there have been nine accidents, including one fatality.

Peterson said the patrol will be "turning up the knob a bit" in terms of enforcement along the corridor.

"We have a clash of cultures on U.S. 52. There are those motorists who are used to driving the freeways and those who are accustomed to driving on two lane roads. That highway is neither," he said. "So we have that clash of cultures and when they come together at intersections like 75th Street, there is a problem."

In another matter, two Rochester police officers recently completed training to be commercial vehicle inspectors and there will be an emphasis on commercial vehicle safety, Krueger said.


Until now, there has only been one state inspector assigned to all of southeastern Minnesota.

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