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2020 a challenging year on Minnesota roads

There were 394 traffic deaths on Minnesota roads in 2020, compared with 364 in 2019, according to preliminary reports from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.

Preliminary numbers show that of the 394 deaths in 2020:

• At least 30 are known to be distraction-related, compared with 27 in 2019;

• 118 were speed-related, compared with 72 in 2019;

• At least 109 were alcohol-related, compared with 111 in 2019;

• 102 were not wearing their seat belts, compared with 73 in 2019;

• 64 were motorcyclists, compared with 44 in 2019;

• 10 were bicyclists, compared with 10 in 2019;

• 45 were pedestrians, compared with 50 in 2019; and

• 284 were males (72 percent) and 110 were females (28 percent).

The summer months (June-August) accounted for 127 deaths on Minnesota roads, or 35 percent of the year’s fatalities. July was the deadliest month with 54 deaths.

The Minnesota State Patrol reported an alarming increase in the number of drivers going 100 miles per hour or more in 2020. Troopers wrote 501 more citations to drivers in 2020 traveling more than 100 miles per hour than they did in 2019, a 94 percent increase. The top speed was 153 miles per hour for a citation written in October.

Officers, deputies and troopers will continue extra enforcement in 2021, focusing on the four dangerous behaviors that contribute to most traffic deaths on our roads:

• Distracted driving – April 5-30;

• Seat belt and child restraints – May 24-June 6;

• Speeding – July 1-31;

• DWI – Aug. 20- Sept. 6;

• Seat belt and child restraints – Sept. 17-30; and

• DWI – Multiple dates in November and December.

In addition, an extra speed enforcement campaign will be announced within the coming days.