Toward Zero Deaths provides $500K for southern Minnesota

Published 7:28am Thursday, October 18, 2012

ST. PAUL — In a continuing effort to advance traffic safety in southeastern Minnesota, Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman on Wednesday announced new federal grants totaling $542,019.

The grants will support overtime Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety enforcement and educational efforts that run through September 2013.

“The long road to reducing traffic deaths toward our goal of zero starts with the officers and the people in our communities doing the work every day,” Dohman said. “These efforts are saving lives and helping to make our roads safer.”

There have been 566 deaths in southeastern Minnesota over the past 10 years, although fatalities have decreased 40 percent since 2002, according to Public Safety. There were 71 deaths in 2002 and 80 in 2004, the two highest of the past decade, compared to 47 in 2009, 37 in 2010 and 39 in 2011.

Unbelted traffic deaths have decreased as seat belt use has increased. In 2002, there were 36 unbelted deaths, compared to nine last year.

Drunken driving remains a serious issue in the area, remaining steady and accounting for 140 deaths since 2002, including 10 last year. The percentage, however, is lower than the statewide average.

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