DPS: ‘Minnesota 2020 traffic deaths exceed 2019 total’

Published 7:01 am Sunday, December 6, 2020

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According to preliminary numbers from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS), 367 traffic deaths have been reported so far on Minnesota roads for 2020.

In 2019, the DPS-OTS reported 364 traffic deaths for the entire year.

“With fewer vehicles on the road during the 2020 pandemic, the loss of life on Minnesota roads is beyond disappointing; it is tragic and completely preventable,” said DPS-OTS Director Mike Hanson. “While most Minnesotans are driving smart, there are a number of people who have used the lighter traffic as a license to disobey laws. The rising number of speed violations and the decline in seat belt usage from 2019 to 2020 cannot be ignored. We grieve with all of those experiencing an empty chair at the table for the holidays and we beg each and every one of you to start understanding the consequences of dangerous driving behaviors.”

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“There are names behind the 364 traffic deaths,” said Minnesota State Patrol Chief Matt Langer. “They are loved ones; individuals who never made it home while traveling on our roads. Troopers know all too well how preventable these deaths are. By buckling up, slowing down, putting the distractions away and line up a sober ride, we can significantly reduce fatalities on our roads.”

Of the 367 2020 traffic fatalities:

• 316 were motor vehicle occupants;

• 63 were motorcyclists;

• 41 were pedestrians;

• 10 were bicyclists;

• 107 were speed-related;

• 97 were alcohol-related;

• 29 were distracted-related; and

• 92 involved an unbelted motorist.

Extra DWI enforcement is in effect until Dec. 31. Law enforcement across Minnesota made 267 DWI arrests during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to the DPS-OTS.