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100 most traveled days begins Monday

Memorial Day through Labor Day marks the 100 most traveled days on Minnesota roads. The Department of Public Safety would like to remind all Minnesotans to drive safely, even as they stay close to home this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Preliminary numbers show the 100-day stretch last year accounted for 136 of the 364 traffic fatalities, 37 percent of all the traffic deaths in 2019. Preliminary numbers by the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) show 98 fatalities on Minnesota roads in 2020 compared with 102 this time last year.

Driver behavior continues to play a significant role in motor vehicle crashes with speed, distraction, lack of seat belt use and drunk driving the top contributing factors in Minnesota road fatalities. Bad choices led to bad outcomes during the last several months, even as traffic volumes decreased during the stay at home order. Speeding, careless and negligent driving, and failure to yield or running a red light were among the most frequently cited contributing factors in traffic fatalities.

Extra distracted driving enforcement will take place from June 1-14. In 2019, distracted driving contributed to 3,279 injuries and 32 deaths, according to the DPS-OTS.

The DPS-OTS suggests the following tips for safer travel:

• 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.