Stories of the tragedies of traffic crashes written by victims or their surviving family members
Locations, times and contact numbers of the five MSD panel for those who have been ordered to attend by the court
Who we are and What we do
How to request a vehicle for your awareness program
Legislation important to MSD
Important and useful links to other traffic safety government websites
Traffic safety press releases and news clips
Minnesotans for Safe Driving provides Victim Impact Panels in six different counties and have panels for non- English speaking people in Spanish, Hmong and Russian.
Hennepin County Suburban Panels A variety of dates and locations are available, please call the following registration number to confirm and register. Suburban panel registration number is 612-727-1868.
Isanti County Panels call for dates and location at 612-727-1868
There is a $25.00 cash fee due for each person court ordered to attend. There is NO CHARGE for any concerned person who accompanies the referred person. The $25.00 cash fee is due the night of the panel and will be collected upon admission. Credit cards are not accepted. Checks not accepted. Cell phones and pagers must not be used during the panel time. If you have questions please do not hesitate to contact Minnesotans For Safe Driving office: 952 238 0970.
Rescheduling: There will be a $25.00 additional fee for those who do not attend their first registered session. Any cancelation or rescheduling must be done at least 24 hours in advance.
Alcohol or illicit drug use prior to attendance is prohibited. You will be asked to leave if chemical use is suspected and no credit will be given for attendance that night.
If you are ordered to attend an impact panel you are welcome to go to any of the panels we offer but you must register in advance at the panel you wish to attend.
Cell phone and pager use during the panel is prohibited.
About Minnesotans for Safe Driving
Our Mission Statement -
To assist all victims of traffic crashes and educate
the public to the dangers of Drunk Driving and Distractive Driving.
Minnesotans for Safe Driving (MSD) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
Its Prime Objections are as follows:
We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help victims of traffic crashes involving unsafe driving behavior.
Advocates attend court proceedings at a victim's request. We assist victims step by step during court proceedings and after if requested.
Education and Public Awareness
As an organization, we are striving to change behaviors through education.
Speakers for presentations at any interested organization or school
Death Notification/ sensitivity training free of charge to law enforcement, medical personnel and any group upon request.
Materials and assistance in our new projectEmployee Workplace Reintegration after Loss
Victim Impact Panels to educate the offenders and the public about the consequences of their behavior. Panelists are victims, offenders, law enforcement and medical personnel. These speakers do impress upon the offenders the outcome of such irresponsible behavior.
Impactful DVD’s of victims and offenders talking about the crash that changed their lives.
We monitor court cases relating to public safety on Minnesota roadways.
We work to change and improve laws to make our roads safer.
Minnesotans For Safe Driving want to change the mindset in Minnesota regarding non-alcohol related crashes caused by speeding, aggressive driving, and inattentive and distracted driving. These crashes should not be referred to as “ACCIDENTS” they should be considered “CRASHES” that were caused by failure to obey the traffic laws, and follow due care when driving; not an unforeseen event which is the definition of an accident.
Minnesota has come a long way on reducing the incidence of drunk driving, but the battle is not over until we have reached zero deaths. With the help of technology, advocacy groups, the government and the public this goal CAN happen.
REMEMBER, THE MOST LIKELY SITUATION TO ENDANGER YOUR LIFE IS DRIVING ON THE ROADS AND HIGHWAYS YOU FREQUENT DAILY.
Minnesotans for Safe Driving is saddened to announce that we have lost two of our dearest and supportive friends in the past month
Steven Kallenbeck was co-owner of Aurora Productions. He was one of the kindest individuals and a talented producer. Our organization with Steven's assistance has positively touched thousands of lives through our driving impact DVDs.
Gary Williams was a caring and bright drug and alcohol evaluator. He was a very special friend to anyone working in or with the treatment community. He taught the members of our organization about the disease of addiction and made us better able to understand those battling this addiction.
Thank you for touching our lives. You will both be missed
Have you been involved in a crash caused by another, or just shake your head in disdain or dismay at the bad driving behavior you see everyday on our roads?
Don't just complain, do something about it. Join Minnesotans For Safe Driving as a volunteer and/or a financial donor. Numbers make a difference and money allows us to present more programs and materials.
We have many interesting volunteer positions and activities such as:
Minnesotans for Safe Driving volunteers at their booth at the 2011 Minnesota TZD Conference in Duluth
volunteer Danielle helping at fundraising walk
MFSD needs volunteers in outstate Minnesota - we will train you!
Outstate call toll free:
Jon Cummings speaking at a school
Julio Salazar is a volunteer interpreter and speaker for the Spanish panels
Volunteers for Minnesotans for Safe Driving manning the Viking's Designated Driver Booth
"I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do. " Edward Everett Hale
Spotlight on MSD volunteers
After the sheriff's chaplain rings at 5 a.m., a family is changed forever
By Sarah T. Williams | 06/25/14 MinnPost article
MinnPost photo by Sarah T. Williams
Jon Cummings, founder of Minnesotans for Safe Driving: “This is a powerful, addictive, mood-altering chemical. [It] causes more misery, more death, more injuries, more treasure than all the rest of them combined. And it’s the legal one.”
Jon Cummings has delivered the talk about his son Phillip (and the drunk driver who killed him) more than 2,800 times over the past 18 years — for various Minnesota county jurisdictions, schools, churches, prisons, and driver’s-ed classes.
You’d think his story would by now have become rote or routinized. But even after all these years it reverberates with heartbreaking authenticity. It was no different on Saturday at Eisenhower Community Center in Hopkins, when Cummings addressed about 50 first-time DWI offenders during a Hennepin County court-ordered daylong seminar on addiction, treatment, alcohol’s effects on the brain, managing stress and strategies to avoid reoffending.
He doesn’t talk about Phillip right away; that comes at about the halfway point of his hourlong presentation.
Read the rest of the article at
http://www.minnpost.com/ mental-health-addiction/2014/06/ after-sheriffs-chaplain-rings -5-am-family-changed-forever
Minnesotans for Safe Driving
Past President & Legislative liaison
Minnesotans for Safe Driving
Maureen lives in Blaine with her husband Cullen and children Cal and Gracie. Maureen became involved with Minnesotans for Safe Driving after a distracted teen driver killed her brother John Keyser on July 18, 2004. Since then Maureen has been speaking at teen driving panels and has testified in front of both the MN House and Senate in hopes of increasing penalties for those who kill while driving distracted. Maureen also works with Nancy Johnson and Sharon Driscoll to teach Death Notification to law enforcement agencies. Ending distracted driving especially by teens is her passion.
Why we started Minnesotans for Safe Driving?
MINNESOTANS FOR SAFE DRIVING was created in honor of our son Phillip who was killed by a drunk driver on May 4, 1994. Phil was a fine young man who died a violent and totally preventable death.
A short time after his death, we became involved in the drunk driving issue with a national non-profit organization, dedicating our lives in seeking ways to make changes in the law and attitudes of the driving public. But after a few years, it became very clear to us that drunk driving is not the only cause of the senseless carnage happening on our highways – aggressive and inattentive drivers are killing more people than drunk drivers.
Unfortunately there’s been little advocacy to help these victims through the courts or to fight for changes in the law at the Legislature. The lives of their sons and daughters, mothers and fathers were as senselessly taken, as was our son’s life. Therefore in February 2000, Minnesotans For Safe Driving was created to fill that known void and to expand our mission to serve as advocates for ALL VICTIMS OF TRAFFIC CRASHES, be they the results of drunk driving, speeding, aggressive or inattentive driving.
Our mission is two-fold; to stop the senseless carnage on our highways and to help all victims of all traffic crashes.
Forming Minnesotans For Safe Driving has given many talented people a means to continue their dedication to this mission. We hope that you will support us in this expanded endeavor.
Jon, Geri & Paul Cummings
MSD Directors Notes
Sharon and her
I have spent the last 26 years of my life working on the issue of drunk driving. Initially, I am always asked, “Are you a victim?” My answer is no. The next question is “Why do you do this then?” I decided this is a good time to answer these questions and also add a few comments.
Back in the 70’s (It seems like only yesterday), I worked in California at the Alameda County Juvenile Court / Detention Facility. A friend, who at the time was a Probation Officer, was hit and injured seriously by a drunk driver. My friend lost one arm and one leg, which of course changed his life forever. The drunk driver on the other hand was fined $300. That was it. I have always thought of that as $150 for each limb. Isn't that horrible.
For years that incident would slip in and out of my mind. After moving to Minnesota there came a time in my life when I had time to volunteer. I worked with a couple charities and one day decided maybe I could help make a difference regarding the crime of drunk driving. That was almost 30 years ago. Becoming an advocate for victims of drunk driving was definitely my calling.
I wish things would have been different in the 70’s, but I have learned to never look back. I know we have made amazing changes these past 30 years, but I know in my heart there is still a long way to go. I will never forget the call I received from the mother of a repeat drunk driving offender. She told me she had no other place to turn and wanted to get some advice for her son regarding turning himself into the authorities. She believed if her son turned himself in he would be “nailed”. That the system would not listen to what he is doing with his life now. That was the call, which made me understand the life of an alcoholic a bit more and the love of family members. I have been blessed. I now feel I understand some of the frustrations of the victim, but also the need for an offender to have someone believe in them. I feel like I have received a Masters Degree on the topic of drunk driving. It’s an education I have received from others, sometimes horrifying, sometimes sad, and always informative.
I am the lucky one; my family has never been through the pains of having a family member hit or killed by a drunk driver. As a mom, wife and citizen I feel it is not only my job, but everyone’s obligation to use our highways responsibly. It is our duty to do all we can to make this a safer world for our children and grandchildren. Now with Minnesotans For Safe Driving I have the ability to pursue my calling and assist victims – ALL victims of traffic crashes.
I would like to thank the founders of Minnesotans For Safe Driving, Jon and Geri Cummings for giving these victims a place to turn for assistance. I am proud of all that we have accomplished over the last three years. It still amazes me that in such a short time we have achieved so much. We will never give up the fight against drunk driving, but society has changed and we are embroiled in a war on our roadways. There are too many victims of not only drunk driving, but also speeding, road rage, and other irresponsible driving behavior. These victims now have some place to ask for help. This could not have happened without all of our generous volunteers and donators. So a special thank you to all of you.
A majority of the funds raised, we are proud to say, have been spent on community services and projects. In fact, 80% goes back into the community for education of offenders and the public, special projects and victims’ assistance. This is remarkable. This is ONLY possible because of our dedicated volunteers and our wonderful supporters. A Big Thank You to everyone!
CRASH CAR PROGRAM
Minnesotans For Safe Driving has a crash car program designed to enlighten the public. Displaying an actual crash car has proven very effective when used as an added visual to a driving awareness program.
It shows your students, employees, customers, or organization a firsthand visual caused by irresponsible driving behavior which may be the result of impaired, distracted, aggressive or speed.
Cars are available for Schools, Drivers training, Fire and Police demonstrations, Malls, Corporations, Community Events and Parades when appropriate.
There is a reasonable charge for transporting crash cars to your site that varies based on the destination and qualified carrier. The preferred method for invoicing is by means of a fax or scanned transmission.
Cars will be placed on the site requested. Be sure to choose a location that will provide the greatest visual attraction. Cars have posters and storyboards to display scenes from a life and crash.
Whenever possible identify to us your planned agenda for the car display and if time and availability permits, volunteers may be available to speak.
To request a crash car for your event please contact our office at 952-238-0970 or you may contact Bob Milner at 612-724-4296.
Click here for the story behind this car.
Minnesotans for Safe Driving’s traffic safety agenda at the Capitol this 2015 session was very full of must needed changes to the law. But as often happens at the Legislature, compromises and politics come into play. We didn’t get all we wanted but some significant changes to law did come out of the session
DWI Law - Penalties for DWI offenders are based on many factors, one is the level of alcohol intoxication. If the person is arrested for their first DWI and their alcohol concentration is twice the legal limit, their penalty is enhanced from a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor. Also their license revocation time is extended and Ignition Interlock is required to reinstate their driver’s license. When the level for the per se went from .10 to .08 alcohol concentration a few years ago, the enhancement level went from .20 to .16 on the administrative track, driver’s license penalty, but not the criminal track. The legislature corrected the law this year by aligning both the criminal and the administrative track to have the enhancement point on both at .16 alcohol concentration. Statistics show that the average fatal crash alcohol level of the offender is .16. People who have this high of alcohol concentration are the most likely driver to be in a crash. The system needs to put more emphasis on these drivers so that they will change their behavior so they are not involved in a crash in the future. We would like to thank our chief authors of this bill. Sen. Ron Latz and Rep. Jerry Hertaus
Non-alcohol related crash penalties – For many years the advocacy groups, A.B.A.T.E. , Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota and Minnesotans for Safe Driving, have been going to the legislature to encourage support for increasing the penalty to a driver whom causes a crash that seriously injured or killed someone that was not alcohol or drug related. Finally a bill was passed, it wasn’t as broad based as we would have liked, but it is a step in the right direction. The law changed the definition of reckless driving, which is a misdemeanor as is careless driving, from driving in a manner as to indicate a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others, which is a very high standard, to the new language which is .. psituation. If a person is convicted of reckless driving and a death or serious injury results to another person, that offender will have the penalty enhanced to a gross misdemeanor. That person could be given a sentence of up to one year in jail, a $3000 fine and 2 years’ probation. If the court system and the law doesn’t treat these crashes seriously by an enhanced penalty over the same driving behavior without a serious crash, how will the public ever change their viewpoint on these crashes and stop looking at them as just accidents! We would like to thank our chief authors of this bill, Sen. Jim Carlson and Rep. Pat Garofalo
Texting and Driving – More and more people are multi-tasking in their vehicles which is very dangerous when driving. Texting seems to be the most dangerous because the driver’s eyes are off the road for the longest period. The penalty now for a texting ticket is $50 but there is no enhancement of the fine for a repeat offense. With the new law each violation after the first will have an added cost to the $50 of $225 plus other fees.
All of these new laws go into effect on violations after August 1, 2015
Follow the legislative procedure by going to the website of the Minnesota Legislature www.leg.state.mn.us
How a bill becomes law www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/howbill.asp
To find out who your legislator is go to www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/districtfinder.asp
If you are looking for traffic safety rules, regulations and laws go to www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169
And for alcohol and drug traffic laws www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169A
Training Offered by MSD
is a POST accredited course offered by Sharon Gehrman-Driscoll and Nancy Johnson of Minnesotans for Safe Driving and Lt. John Nagel of the Minnesota State Patrol. This class is provided at no cost to law enforcement, EMT’s, coroners, clergy, etc.,
MSD has created another educational and victim advocacy outreach program in the form of an Employee Workplace Reintegration after Loss.
This innovative program is initially being directed at over 1600 Minnesota small businesses and offers them a complimentary introduction presentation as to how they can better manage the affects of loss that their employees may face.
Important Traffic Safety Links
ST. PAUL – Finding victims unresponsive and performing CPR to help them breathe again. Taking chase to apprehend a suspect. Rescuing trapped people from vehicles. The law enforcement officers and citizens responsible for these heroic acts were among those honored today by the Minnesota State Patrol at its annual awards ceremony.
Each year, the Patrol honors citizens, troopers and other public servants who performed life-saving acts or excelled in a crisis to ensure safer Minnesota roads. The awards and their recipients include:
Meritorious Citizenship Awards – Presented to citizens who have assisted the State Patrol in providing a significant service to the public.
Recent State Patrol Highlights
Traffic safety is why we are Minnesotans for Safe Driving. Most of our members have experienced firsthand what happens when the driving public doesn’t put traffic safety first.
You'll find recent and many drunk and drugged driving facts to prove why choosing to drive impaired in any way is so dangerous. It will help you understand the workings of the court system, what rights have in the courts, teen and parent issues pending issues and many more informational articles, facts, programs and links to related websites. This site will also inform you about what educational resources MSD has to offer plus training they can provide in Death Notification, and Returning to Work after Bereavement.
MSD has Crash Cars available for events and operates Victim Impact Panels in four different counties. The site also has information and support for those dealing with the trauma of a loved one who was involved in a serious crash.
We hope that after visiting our site, you have learned more about our organization and some very important drunk driving and careless driving facts that will reinforce your commitment to drive “Safe and Sober”.