First 50 of the 100 most-traveled days highlight ongoing traffic safety crisis

Published 6:05 pm Tuesday, July 20, 2021

During the first 50 of the 100 most-traveled days of the year (Memorial Day-Labor Day), preliminary reports show 76 people have died on Minnesota roads, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety. The 76 traffic fatalities during the first 50 days are the most since 2017.

The initial summer travel fatality figures demonstrate an ongoing traffic safety crisis. Preliminary numbers by the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety show 229 fatalities on Minnesota roads in 2021 compared with 169 this time last year.

“I’m running out of words to describe what is taking place on our roads right now,” said Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director. “The lack of responsibility some are taking behind the wheel is causing a death toll on our roads that’s hard to comprehend. It’s time for all of us to look in the mirror. It’s time for all of us to take responsibility for our actions. It’s time for all of us to drive smart, slow down, be kind on the road and help everyone get home safely at the end of the day.”

Law enforcement agencies across the state are focusing on slowing down speeding motorists with extra patrols now through July 31. The extra patrols come on the heels of a deadly 2020 where speed-related deaths (122) were the most since 2008 (125).

The Minnesota State Patrol has cited 44,967 motorists for speeding through July 8, including 646 tickets written for speeds of 100 mph or more.

According to DPS-OTS statistics, speed contributes to about one-in-five fatal or serious injury crashes in Minnesota. An average of 89 deaths and 350 serious injuries per year between 2015-2019 have been the results of speeding.