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We analyzed 224,915 Minnesota speeding tickets. See what we learned.

Minnesota State Trooper Jack Tiegs puts a hand-held laser to his eye to determine vehicle speed in St. Paul on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. After he stops cars he said he looks at what speed they were going, demeanor of the motorist, and their driving record before issuing a ticket or warning. Jean Pieri / St. Paul Pioneer Press

LITTLE CANADA, Minn. — Trooper Jack Tiegs sat in his State Patrol car in the I-694 median near Little Canada, eyes fixed on his speed gun.

He didn't have to wait long before a silver Chevrolet Malibu zoomed past at 74 mph, 14 over the 60 mph speed limit. Tiegs hit the lights, pulled the car over, and wrote a ticket.

It's a scene that plays out hundreds of times per day around the state — and the Pioneer Press has data on all 224,915 tickets the State Patrol has written over the past three and a half years. From that data and interviews with state troopers, we're answering key questions about speeding tickets:

How fast are most speeders going?

How many more tickets is the State Patrol is writing than it used to?

• What time of day are drivers most likely to be ticketed?

• Men or women, young or old? Who gets ticketed most often?

How do state troopers decide whether to write a ticket?

• Practical data-driven advice to avoid getting tickets.

Col. Matt Langer, the chief of the State Patrol, acknowledges that speeding is very common. But he said it's one of the patrol's top priorities, alongside things like drunken or distracted driving.

"Speed is one of the elements that will make everything else worse," said Langer. "If you're a driver who is going down the road and you're distracted and you're going 60 in a 55, instead of 55 in a 55, even that 5 mph difference gives you less time to react to something in front of you."

The data covers only speeding tickets written by the State Patrol, which has primary jurisdiction over the state's trunk highway system. It doesn't include tickets written by county or municipal law enforcement.

Included for each ticket are when and where it was written, the cited speed, the posted speed limit, and whether the driver is male or female. It does not include any information on driver race.

The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.

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