In March of this year we at Minnesotans for Safe Driving were saddened to learn about the death of one of our long time victim speaker at our panels. Jon, our founder, worked closely with Woody.
My friend Woody Lee and I spoke at impact panels and at schools and prisons all over Minnesota for 15 years. Woody was truly a one of a kind. Everyone who was lucky enough to meet him loved him. To me he was an inspiration. He had every right to be angry and bitter about what happened to him when he was young when a drunk driver hit him while he was changing a tire. He was severely injured and all his dreams for his future were eliminated. But he took his pain, physically and emotionally, and tried to make something positive come of it. Woody showed thousands of people the tragedy that can come from drunk driving. I will miss him but I am glad that all the pain he lived with for 52 years is now gone. It was a privilege and an honor to be his friend.
We are losing our future everyday on our highways. Our future leaders, our teens are being killed or injured in a higher ratio than any other age group based on miles driven. Some are causing their own death and injury through unsafe driving behavior and just plain immaturity and inexperience. Others are the innocent victims of another driver’s bad choices or criminal behavior.
These are a few stories of teens whose lives ended or were forever changed before they really got a chance to start to reach their potential.
These are a few stories of teens whose lives ended or were forever changed before they really got a chance to start to reach their potential.
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 952-221-7393
Isanti County Panels call for dates and location at 952-221-7393 next panel with be April 25, 2019
Sibley/McLeod County Victim Panels-- call Susan at 1-320-864-1277 to register and more information. Fax is 320-864-1415
Sibley/ McLeod County Panel is at the McLeod County North Complex south entrance -2391 Hennepin Ave N. Glencoe, MN
Dates for panel are February 26, 2018, June 4, 2018 and October 15, 2018
6:00 to 6:30 registration-- doors lock at 6:30pm -- $40 fee cash or money order must bring your pre- registration form
For non english speaking offenders, Minnesotans for Safe Driving have available Victim Impact panels for Hispanic, Hmong and Russian speaking people. Please call ahead to register for the first available panel 952-221-7393 and to get more information.
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: 952 221-7393.
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.
(with panel speaker Woody Lee)
Ricardo Mourao & Julio Salazar
Ricardo is a speaker at the Spanish panels
Julio is the Interpreter and speaker
- About Minnesotans for Safe Driving
- MSD Volunteers
- Spotlight on MSD volunteers
- MSD Board
- MSD Directors Notes
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:
Participating as a court monitor involved with a study on non-alcohol related crashes
Participating at our Driving Impact Panels
Helping to produce our newsletters and brochures
Doing clerical work when needed
Helping with our legislative effort
Participating in traffic safety awareness at our booth at various events
We need speakers and organizers for various programs
Volunteer advocates, training available
MSD volunteers at Sen. Amy Klobuchar's press conference for
her Senate Bill "The Improving Driver Safety Act"
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
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!
SPECIAL THANK YOU
To Felling Trailers, Marks' Towing,
and Bob Milner for making this program successful!!!
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.
If you are interested in donating a car to our crash car program please call Sharon at 952- 238-0970
The 2019 Legislative Session
A number of bills addressing the issues of distracted driving and drunk driving were heard this year. The bill that Minnesotans for Safe Driving actively work for was the Hands-free cell phone bill. Some of the bills that are working their way through the legislature but may or may not become law are as follows.
- Conforming the drunk driving laws between a road vehicle and a recreational vehicle off road, includes boats
- Allowing a DNR officer to have the full ability to arrest a person on a DWI offense
- Allowing a law enforcement department to use a special sticker to invalidate the plate on the vehicle plate instead of taking the plate for impoundment
- Increasing the fine for texting and using the phone without being hands-free
- Make it a felony to cause a crash that resulted in death or serious injury when using a phone without being in the hands-free mode
- Allowing for a driver to avoid a forfeiture of their vehicle for a DWI offense if they go on Ignition Interlock
- Makes operators of light rail vehicles to follow the same laws as other drivers
- To have emergency contacts on driver's license applications so that law enforcement will be able to contact this person if there is an emergency. This will not be mandatory
The hands-free bill passed the legislature and will become law August 1, 2019
The law requires that any use of the cell phone while driving must be in the Hands-free mode except to call 911.
Our great thanks to the authors of this bill in the last three years
Senators Jim Carlson and Scott Newman and Representatives Frank Hornstein,
Mark Uglem, and Jim Newberger
The History of Hands-free cell phone legislation
Written by Nancy Johnson
The popular use of the cell phone in the late 1990’s brought about a serious issue with traffic safety; and it just got a lot worse when the “Apple smart phone” was introduced in 2007 and other smart phones were introduced in the next years. These phones allowed a person to do more than just make a phone call; texting, video chatting, looking at pictures and browsing the web all took the driver’s eyes off the road. Just as traffic safety advocates were getting a handle on reducing drunk driving crashes, the death rate started to move up with deaths and injuries from distracted and cell phone use that took the driver’s eyes off the road. The first-time legislation was offered for a Hands-free bill was in the early 2000’s. These bills did not see much movement until 2017 when these authors; Sen. Carlson, (D), Rep. Hornstein(D) and Rep. Newburger(R) led the push. A coalition started of victims and families of those killed to advocate for this important legislation. More families joined in 2018 and 2019 and some because their loved ones became statistics in 2018. These advocates really made the difference to the final success. But unfortunately, a vote was never taken in 2017.
2018 was more successful with lots of testimony, emails, media and experienced lobbyists in our corner. It would have passed with a close vote, but there was again a push back from Republican leadership that didn’t allow a vote to happen, and the Republicans controlled the House and Senate. The authors in 201 8 were Sen. Carlson (D), Rep. Uglem (R) and Rep. Newburger (R). Testimony in 2018 and much media attention to these deaths and injuries started changing the minds of those who had previously been against the bill, from both sides of the aisle.
2019 brought a change to the legislature with the Democrats taking over the House and the leadership of the Senate finally deciding it was in their best interest to support a hands-free cell phone bill. It also helped that many legislators did change their mind. The 2019 authors were the chairs of the Transportation committees, Sen. Newman ( R) and Rep. Hornstein(D). The bill finally was given a vote and the Senate voted 56 to 10 and the House voted 106 to 21 to pass their bills. These bills were different but after much negotiation the conference committee came up with a unanimous vote of 6 to 0 on the final bill. It was then passed successfully through both Houses and sent to Governor Walz to sign on April 12, 2019.
This bill is a prevention bill. The penalty was left the same as the previous texting law. The point of this bill was to stop people from looking at their phones while driving. To make that happen, a massive public awareness campaign will be used and enforcement of the law will be the other part to make the change. We all hope that this will do what the primary seatbelt law did, raise compliance.
These organizations adopted board positions supporting adoption of hands-free cell phone legislation:
- AAA Minneapolis
- Associated General Contractors of Minnesota
- Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota
- Citizens for Work Zone Safety
- Cooperative Network
- Ideal Credit Union
- Insurance Federation of Minnesota
- Iron Mining Association of Minnesota
- Metro Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association
- Minnesota Asphalt Pavement Association
- Minnesota Association of Farm Mutual Insurance Companies
- Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association
- Minnesota Beverage Association
- Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
- Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association
- Minnesota Council of Health Plans
- Minnesota Grocers Association
- Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association
- Minnesota Insurance and Financial Services Council
- Minnesota Lodging Association
- Minnesotans Fighting Distracted Driving
- Minnesotans for Safe Driving
- Minnesota Restaurant Association
- Minnesota Resort & Campground Association
- Minnesota Safety Council
- Minnesota School Bus Operators Association
- Minnesota Trucking Association
- Minnesota Utility Contractors Association
- Minnesota Utility Investors
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving
- North Hennepin Community College
- Northstar MLS
- Northwest Chapter of the American Society of Safety Professionals
- Professional Insurance Agents of Minnesota
- Shreya L. Dixit Memorial Foundation
- Twin Cities Plumbing Heating and Cooling Contractors