2020 Minnesota TZD Webinar Series: Impacts to Traffic Safety During a Pandemic

Thursday, November 19, 2020

About the Webinar

When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Minnesota, many predicted that traffic-related fatalities would dramatically decline as traffic on our nation’s roads drastically declined. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Job efficiencies declined, stress levels increased, and product shortages produced their own challenges as we sought to establish a “new normal.” This session explored what many have described as “the Wild West” and described the tactics that were used to mitigate the challenges.

Webinar Recording & Materials


Kristine Hernandez, Statewide Toward Zero Deaths Program Coordinator, Office of Traffic Engineering, Minnesota Department of Transportation


Sheriff Kevin Torgerson
Sheriff Torgerson
Colonel Matt Langer
Colonel Langer

Colonel Matt Langer, Chief, Minnesota State Patrol, has been a Minnesota State Trooper since 1999. He began his career in the St. Paul station, where he worked the afternoon shift. He spent over four years on the Metro Crash Reconstruction Team where he reconstructed hundreds of fatal and serious injury crashes. He was the director of the State Patrol’s fleet and asset management section before assuming public information duties. As a Captain, he directed public information work, homeland security efforts, and traffic safety grants. He served for two and a half years as the Assistant Chief and a year as the Acting Chief before being appointed Colonel, Chief of the State Patrol, in January 2015. Colonel Langer has a master’s degree in public and nonprofit administration, as well as a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and law enforcement. In addition to his work at the State Patrol, he holds an adjunct faculty position at Century College. He is active on the International Association of Chiefs of Police Board of Directors and the State and Provincial Police Division Executive Board.

Sheriff Kevin Torgerson, Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, is a graduate of the first ever Minnesota POST Board Skills class served with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office from February 1980 to December 1985. He was hired by the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office in January 1986. He has served in every facet and rank of the Sheriff’s Office, from detention to patrol, civil/warrants and court security, training, and emergency management. He has also served on specialty assignments as a DARE Officer, ERU/SWAT team member, TZD coordinator, and more. Sheriff Torgerson has also been involved with the Law Enforcement Memorial Association since 1991 as an Honor Guard member and commander, and now as a board member.

Peggy Sue Garber
Peggy Sue Garber
Duane Hill
Duane Hill

Duane Hill, P.E., has been the district engineer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation District 1 since 2012. He is a 1988 graduate of North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND, with a B.S. in civil engineering. He has more than 32 years of engineering experience, mostly in the transportation field with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Duane led the Governor’s Statewide Bridge Inspection program in the fall of 2007 after the collapse of the I-35W bridge.

Peggy Sue Garber is the trauma/stroke & injury prevention coordinator with the Mayo Clinic Health System. Garber has been a nurse since 2004; she was motivated to go into nursing in 2001 when the terrorist attacks brought down the twin towers. Like all nurses, she started on the general floor and eventually ended up in the ER. As an ER nurse, she found her love for trauma care and enjoyed the process of helping patients get better. A few years into her ER career, she took on the role of trauma coordinator for the Mayo Clinic Health System - Fairmont, which involves chart reviews, directing trauma classes for ER nurses, maintaining the hospital’s trauma designation, and performance improvement. As the role of trauma coordinator grew, she was asked to take on injury prevention for the SW Minnesota region. She was able to obtain a driving simulator through grant funding and started spreading the word at schools, county fairs, and driver’s ed classes on the dangers of distracted/impaired driving. In this role, she participates in many TZD events, is a voting member for the Southern Minnesota Trauma Advisory Committee, was a member of the State Trauma Advisory Committee work group that revised the Level IV Trauma Hospital Criteria, and participates in the Martin County Safe Roads Committee.

Maria Flor
Maria Flor

Maria Flor is an R.N. and trauma coordinator for the Mayo Clinic Health System. She has been working as a nurse in a rural hospital since 1998 and has been the trauma program coordinator at a Level 4 Trauma Hospital for nearly 10 years. She is active with SMRTAC (Southern Minnesota Regional Trauma Advisory Committee) and involved with various injury prevention and education/outreach projects. She is the current Level 3 and 4 Trauma Program Manager representative on the Minnesota State Trauma Advisory Council.


Attendees are eligible for 1.5 Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits, 2.0 POST credits, and 2.0 Professional Development Hours (PDHs).

More Information

For more information about the webinar, please contact Linda Dolan at ldolan@umn.edu.


The webinar was offered by the Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths Program and the Minnesota Departments of Health, Public Safety, and Transportation, with funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The webinar was hosted by the University of Minnesota's Center for Transportation Studies and facilitated by the College of Continuing and Professional Studies.