During the first 50 of the 100 most-traveled days of the year (Memorial Day-Labor Day), preliminary reports show 76 people have died on Minnesota roads.
The 76 traffic fatalities during the first 50 days are the most since at least 2017.
Of the 76 fatalities, preliminary reports show:
21 are speed-related.
12 unbelted motorists were killed in traffic crashes.
Two were distracted driving-related fatalities.
15 were alcohol-related fatalities.
The initial summer travel fatality figures demonstrate an ongoing traffic safety crisis. Preliminary numbers by the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety show 229 fatalities on Minnesota roads in 2021 compared with 169 this time last year.
The 229 deaths is a 36 percent increase over last year.
Recent fatalities include:
A 23-year-old unbelted man driving in Nicollet County died from his injuries when his car hit a truck with a trailer.
A 44-year-old male driver died from his injuries when he crossed the center line on a highway in Meeker Co and struck an oncoming semi.
A 45-year-old motorcyclist who was not wearing a helmet and was traveling at a high rate of speed in Brooklyn Park was killed when he ran off the road and hit a traffic signal.
An 81-year-old woman was killed when a 33-year-old male driver fleeing police in Oakdale ran into the woman’s vehicle. The pursuit had been called off prior to the crash.
“I’m running out of words to describe what is taking place on our roads right now,” said Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director. “The lack of responsibility some are taking behind the wheel is causing a death toll on our roads that’s hard to comprehend. It’s time for all of us to look in the mirror. It’s time for all of us to take responsibility for our actions. It’s time for all of us to drive smart, slow down, be kind on the road and help everyone get home safely at the end of the day.”
2020: Deadliest Summer in a Decade
If driving behaviors don’t significantly improve, Minnesotans may face a tragic repeat of last summer.
June through August 2020 proved to be the deadliest three-month stretch in a decade.
Preliminary numbers show 158 of the 394 traffic fatalities in 2020 came during the 109-day period between Memorial Day and Labor Day; that’s 40 percent of all traffic deaths last year.
The 158 deaths were the most for the period since at least 2015.
Extra Speed Patrols
Law enforcement agencies across the state are focusing on slowing down speeding motorists with extra patrols now through July 31.
The extra patrols come on the heels of a deadly 2020 where speed-related deaths (122) were the most since 2008 (125).
The Minnesota State Patrol has cited 44,967 motorists for speeding through July 8 with 646 tickets written for speeds of 100 mph or more
Speed contributes to about one-in-five fatal or serious injury crashes in Minnesota.
Speed contributes to an average of 89 deaths and 350 serious injuries a year (2015 – 2019).
Extra Patrols for Impaired Driving
Alcohol-related crashes not only take lives, they change them forever. Alcohol-related crashes contribute to an average of 304 life-changing injuries each year. Extra patrols run Aug. 20-Sept. 6.
Drunk driving contributes to about one in four fatal or serious injury crashes in Minnesota.
Drunk driving contributes to an average of 122 deaths and 357 serious injuries a year (2015 – 2019).
Drive Smart and Save Lives
If you are with a driver who is distracted, speak up, tell them to put the phone down and offer to be their designated texter.
Refuse to drive until every passenger is buckled up.
Slow down —trying to save a few minutes off your drive isn’t worth causing a crash.
Plan ahead before you go out by designating a sober driver, and if you see a person who has had too much to drink, speak up and find them a safe ride home.