As of Aug. 1, Minnesota is safer in two notable ways

  • Article by: EDITORIAL , St. Cloud Times
  • Updated: August 8, 2014 - 6:17 PM

New laws target motorists in work zones and indoor tanning bed users younger than 18.

Amid the bevy of new state laws that take effect this month, there are a couple of safety-minded changes of special note.

Especially timely now — as the road construction and summer travel seasons run their annual parallel peaks — is a mandatory $300 fine for motorists who speed through work zones or ignore work-zone flaggers. The statewide $300 fine replaces fines that varied by county and might have been as low as $50. Efforts to make work zones safer have increased in recent years, and proponents of the law believe it will be more effective than the state’s long-standing “fines double in work zones” message.

Perhaps because it’s summer, little attention has gone to another important change legislators made this session. As of Aug. 1, Minnesotans younger than 18 cannot use UV tanning beds.

The law took effect just two days after a federal study reported that about 400,000 cases of skin cancer may be related to indoor tanning in the United States each year. Earlier this year, the Minnesota Department of Health highlighted the dangers of indoor tanning with these findings: Thirty-four percent of 11th-grade white females reported they had tanned indoors in the last year; melanoma is the second most common cancer among females ages 15 to 29 years old, and the number of non-Hispanic white women ages 20 to 49 diagnosed with melanoma has increased 5 percent each year for the past 15 years.


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