2018 Toward Zero Deaths Conference

October 23-24, 2018

Mankato, MN
United States

About the Conference

This conference provides a forum for sharing information on best practices in engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency medical/health services and for identifying new approaches to reducing the number of traffic fatalities and life-changing injuries on Minnesota roads.

For general information about the conference, including topics covered, intended audience, and the annual awards presentation, please visit the statewide conference page.

Conference Materials

Presentation Materials

Plenary Session: How Leadership and Teamwork Can Drive Us to Zero—Insights from a Decorated Navy SEAL

Leadership and contingency planning in high-risk, high-consequence environments can be the difference between success and failure, life and death. Leadership is a professional license and must be treated as such. It will only improve with practice. Occupation does not define leadership. There is good leadership, and there is bad. The principles of Navy SEAL Teams are found off the battlefield, in highly successful teams and organizations around the globe. In this presentation, retired SEAL Andy Stumpf explained what it takes to be a successful leader and teammate by focusing on accountability, responsibility, mental toughness, decision making, goal setting, motivation, and discipline. These and other leadership traits can help Minnesota drive our fatality and serious injury crash rates towards zero.

Plenary Session: Autism—Effective Emergency Response

Autism Spectrum Disorders now occur with a prevalence of 1 in 59 individuals in the United States, while additional reports indicate that prevalence is even higher in the state of Minnesota. Additionally, studies show that children and adults on the spectrum are 7–12 times more likely to interface with emergency responders than their neurotypical peers. In this dynamic presentation, Ellie Wilson, executive director of the Autism Society of Minnesota, described how to recognize and understand behaviors associated with autism and similar disabilities. Wilson then addressed how various emergency response roles (medical, police, fire, and others) can use effective, practical strategies for improved communication, assessment, and behavior in domestic, community, and prehospital settings.

Community Engagement Strategies for Point of Impact

Driver education providers are required by law to offer parent awareness classes to parents/guardians, but it shouldn’t stop there. This session demonstrated how the Point of Impact program can be delivered effectively with law enforcement participation. Attendees heard how they can take this program beyond the traditional classroom and into the community with local sponsors to enhance their reach.

What Are We Walking Into? The Challenges of Keeping Pedestrians Safe on Our Roadways

How does Minnesota compare in terms of pedestrian fatalities with other states? What are states with lower pedestrian crashes doing that works? Why are pedestrians more at risk crossing multilane roadways, and what can we do to facilitate safer crossings throughout our road network? These questions were answered in these presentations focused on research and examples of strategies to address pedestrian safety.

TZD Law Enforcement Grantee Session—Best Practices from Around the State

Each year brings new federal pots of money. Attendees learned what funding can be spent for the 2019 enforcement grant and heard about changes to the program. Rochester Police Department presented its Seat Belt Challenge education program, and Hennepin County agencies presented their Highway 12 Coalition’s media event that focused on distracted driving and honoring fallen Officer Bill Mathews from the Wayzata Police Department.

Drugged Driving Enforcement—Unpuzzling the Puzzle

Hundreds of drivers are arrested for DWI every day, with alcohol being the most common impairing substance. But what happens when alcohol is not the impairing substance, or if drugs are added to alcohol for the impairment? This session helped untangle the processing of drugged drivers, whom law enforcement encounter every day.

How Changes in the DWI Statute and Case Law Impact the DWI Arrest Process and Prosecution

Attendees learned about changes to the DWI statute and case law along with how they impact the DWI arrest process and prosecution.

Why Aren’t You Helping? On-Scene Communication Challenges

As you approach the victims of a crash, you begin asking questions about what happened and what is wrong. Waiting for a response, you realize the persons involved don’t understand you or even hear you! What do you do? The presenters in this session demonstrated how to approach these communication obstacles, provide expert subject direction, and generate ideas to adapt your own response.

Seeing Orange: A Look Forward on Work-Zone Safety

This session explored what everyone wants to know about work-zone safety, including obtaining authority for a construction speed zone on a local road, following the new Field Manual, and new technology to improve work-zone safety.

Deadly Distraction—The First 72 Hours: A Case Study

In June 2016, a 10-year-old girl was struck and killed while sitting alongside a rural highway. The driver did not stop, no vehicle parts were left on scene, and there were no witnesses. When that high-profile incident occurs on your watch, what will you do? Attendees learned the steps the State Patrol and BCA took during the next 18 months to recover and help build a case with clear and convincing evidence.

Are You Experienced? Drugs of Abuse, Patterns of Use, and Populations at Risk

From emerging synthetic drugs to opioids, meth, and the ever-popular marijuana, attendees learned about the latest trends in drug abuse based on the most recent available data from multiple sources. This fast-paced session was as current as today’s news and presented by one of Minnesota‘s foremost drug abuse experts.

Setting the Stage for Reducing Traffic Fatalities in the Future—Minnesota’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan Update Begins!

Every five years, states are required to develop a strategic plan for reducing the number of fatal and serious injury crashes within their state. This session kicked off Minnesota’s effort to develop their plan for publication in 2019. This was attendees' first opportunity to hear about the process, introduce their ideas, and be a part of developing a plan of action for traffic safety improvements for the next five years.

Preparing for the Hot Seat

Traffic safety experts are often asked to provide interviews on a specific topic or incident in their community. How do you prepare for an interview and what should you expect? In this training, each participant had the opportunity to sit in the hot seat and experience different types of interviews with different tactics reporters use to ask questions.

At the Crossroads: Trains, Technology, and Distraction Collide

In Minnesota, as much as 75 percent of annual collisions between vehicles and trains occur at highway-rail crossings that are already equipped with active warning devices for the driving, bicycling, and walking public. Some of the biggest challenges include technology-driven teens, new inexperienced drivers, and distractions. This session showcased the free education tools and innovative outreach initiatives Minnesota Operation Lifesaver has been using and how they can be combined with or replicated in other areas of traffic safety.

Where Did the Road Go? The Straight and Narrow About Curves

Curve warnings, both on the roadway and in-vehicle, help motorists stay on the road. This presentation covered new roadway requirements, research of in-vehicle lane-departure systems, and elements of roadway safety plans, which assess roadways to identify potential candidates for proactive measures.

Surviving the Minefield of Cross Examination

Attendees learned how to better prepare for victory at trial by sticking to tried-and-true techniques for answering defense questions and focusing on the evidence of the crime of impaired driving.

Older Driver at Risk: What Do I Do?

As older adults keep their driving licenses longer, a greater proportion of older adults will be experiencing neurocognitive challenges contributing to an increased incidence of crashes. Professionals and families dealing with those issues often find that the challenges lie in the details of the decision-making process. The goal of this interactive panel session was to highlight key challenges and solutions, including in-vehicle technologies, assessment tools, and referral procedures.

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Traffic Reviews: Why the Solutions Might Be Different from Travelers’ Expectations

This session discussed elements challenging to traffic engineering and the facts regarding safety vs. misconceptions. Attendees also learned new strategies for engaging the public and sharing traffic engineering reviews as well as results of the MnDOT trunk highway evaluations for roadways being converted from 55 to 60 mph.

Distracted Driving—Develop a Mindset and Strategy for Taking Back Our Roads

Distracted driving will not go away on its own unless—together—we do something about it. This session offered a multifaceted approach involving law enforcement to help reduce distracted driving on our roadways. It also discussed the far-reaching impact of losing a cherished loved one in a driving-related incident, how to use current traffic laws in enforcement and prosecution, and hands-free cell phone use, including steps to support future legislative action.

Arresting and Processing the Drug-Impaired Driver (Banquet Hall West)

Attendees watched a drugged driving arrest, including a drug-influence evaluation, blood draw, and the lab analysis with the steps officers, DREs, phlebotomists, and the BCA lab take to gather and process evidence of the crime of drug-impaired driving.

Drones Stop the Show

Attendees will get an overview of federal and state laws regarding drones used by the general public, businesses, and government, including law enforcement and first responders. The pluses and minuses of drone use at emergency scenes will be discussed for broader understanding. Practical application will cover the regulations and good uses for drones, such as mapping a scene, search and rescue, and media coverage, as well as bad uses, such as the danger to helicopter operations and first responders.

New Insights: Exploring Our New Minnesota Crash Data

What is a motor vehicle crash? Attendees learned the nuances of the definition of a motor vehicle crash and common misconceptions. They also heard about MnCrash, the new online traffic crash report and database that introduced many changes to crash data collection by law enforcement. The session also explored potential future research using Minnesota crash data.

Get Some Sleep—Just Not Behind the Wheel

Why do we sleep? What happens when we don’t get enough? Lack of sleep is a problem that has, in the past, gone largely unaddressed. Dr. Nystrom discussed the importance of sleep and why it is so crucial to our health and safety—on the job and on the road. Attendees learned about the risk, danger, and often tragic results of drowsy driving and how to protect yourself and your employees in order to reduce the number of sleep-related crashes and save lives.

Being, Bending, and Bouncing Back: Becoming Resilient

It takes resilience to bounce back from the effects of dealing with the consequences of motor vehicle crashes—as well as all the other day-to-day stressors. This session reviewed the symptoms that indicate one needs to work on resilience and techniques that will help to bend, rather than break, when stressed and bounce back.

Life Cycle of the Crash Report

The information provided in the new crash report, updated in 2016, is critical to helping lower the number of crashes in Minnesota. This presentation showed how law enforcement complete a crash report and how engineers use it to assess crashes and make roadway improvements.

What Do I Do With This? Encountering Specialty Vehicles

Law enforcement officers often encounter and stop specialty vehicles such as farm equipment, recreational vehicles, limos, classic cars, party buses, motorized bicycles, and kick-boards. This session gave a practical understanding of laws around such vehicles and operators and the steps to take when these are encountered.

DWI Mock Trial

This interactive session demonstrated testifying in court on a drug-impaired driving case to illustrate persuasive testimony and the DRE investigation.

Traffic Incident Management for First Responders

TIM (Traffic Incident Management) training is about safe and effective traffic control at roadway incidents, such as crashes and fires. This session highlighted national and local best practices for police, fire, and EMS dealing with traffic at roadway scenes and provided an overview of the resources available for department-wide training.

Conference Planning Committee

View a list of the individuals serving on the 2018 TZD Conference Planning Committee.


The conference is offered by the Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths Program and the Minnesota Departments of Public Safety, Transportation, and Health. The conference is hosted by the University of Minnesota's Center for Transportation Studies and facilitated by the College of Continuing Education.

Additional sponsorship has been received from:

Silver Level ($2,500)

WSB logo

Bronze ($1,000)

AAA logoBolton & Menk LogoHDR logoHiway Fed. Credit Union logoMN Wild logo

ATSSA logoLife Link 3Sanford Health logo