Traffic deaths in state and county decline in 2013

Published 7:01 am Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fewer drivers died on both Minnesota and Mower County roads in 2013.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol’s Office of Traffic Safety, there were 375 deaths on Minnesota roads, three of which were in Mower County. That’s down from 395 in 2012, when six people died in Mower County, according to DPS data.

16-year-old Tess Landherr of Rose Creek died on Feb. 27 when her car collided with a school bus on Feb. 27. Roads were terribly slick. Later that night, 22-year-old Jared Burnell of Pittsfield, Mass., died when his car went off of Interstate 90 and rolled. On March 8, Gerald Clark, 59, of Glenville, died when his car crossed the centerline on Highway 56 near Brownsdale and struck another vehicle.

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In the past decade, Minnesota traffic fatalities have decreased sharply, from 567 in 2004 to 375 last year, the DPS said in a press release.

DPS projects 2013’s final total – available in early summer as additional crash reports are submitted – to be about 385. Officials expect four common traffic safety issues will again be the primary contributing factors for the 2013 deaths – drunken driving, seatbelt non-use, speeding and distracted driving.

“Despite last year’s dip in traffic fatalities, these numbers still reflect far too many victims who have lost their lives on our roads,” said Donna Berger, DPS Office of Traffic Safety director. “We continue to encourage all drivers to make good decisions about driving sober, buckling up, slowing down and eliminating distractions.”

The deadliest months in 2013 were July (52), September (50) and November (38).

The months with the fewest fatalities were January (16), March (22) and December (22).

 2013 preliminary statewide death count

The preliminary traffic death count includes:

•31 pedestrians – down from 40 in 2012

•Six bicyclists – down from seven in 2012

•60 motorcyclists – up from 55 in 2012

•278 motorists – down from 293 in 2012