Last week third deadliest of year on Minn. roads

Published 10:04 am Tuesday, August 9, 2011

ST. PAUL — Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) officials said last week (Aug. 1–7) was the third-deadliest week of 2011 on Minnesota roads. Since Aug. 1, 13 people have died on state roads, according to preliminary reports from the DPS Office of Traffic Safety.

Other deadly seven-day periods on roads in 2011 include:

• July 4 through 10: 21 deaths. (The 27 deaths during June 30 through July 14 was the deadliest two-week period of the year.)

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• May 19 through 25: 14 deaths. There were also 18 deaths during the two-week period from May 13 through 26).

• Feb. 1 through 7, Feb. 17 through 23 and June 12 through 18: 11 deaths for each period.

DPS officials said traffic deaths spiked in July — the deadliest month of the year thus far (43 deaths), followed by June (30 deaths) and May (28 deaths). To date, there have been 194 traffic deaths in Minnesota, compared to 229 at this time in 2010.

Of the 13 deaths during the last week, five were in the metro (all Hennepin County), and eight were in the greater Minnesota counties of Becker, Blue Earth (two deaths), Brown, Carlton, Isanti, Rock, and Redwood. Six of 13 who died were 30 or younger.

“This last week sadly highlighted how driver error leads to road tragedy,” said Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske.

“It’s not surprising to see an increase in deaths when seat belts aren’t worn, when drivers speed and when they don’t pay attention. Summertime can be deadly on the road, but it doesn’t have to be if motorists make safe decisions.”

The state’s traffic safety efforts are driven by its core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD). A primary vision of the TZD program is to foster a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes: education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.