2018 saw 6% increase in state traffic deaths

ST. PAUL – According to data reported in “Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2018,” published by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS), 381 lives were lost on Minnesota roadways in 2018.

“Crash Facts” is an annual summary of traffic crashes derived from law enforcement reports and describes how, why and where crashes occurred and who was involved. The information guides future traffic safety initiatives that are intended to improve traffic safety and change driver behavior.

While Minnesota saw a six percent increase in traffic fatalities from the previous year (358), Minnesota continues to see a downward trend in traffic fatalities over five-year periods. From 2009-2013, Minnesota saw an average of 396 deaths per year. In the last five years, there have been an average of 381 deaths, a four percent decrease.

The top four contributing factors in Minnesota 2018 traffic fatalities continue to be:

  • Speed: 113
  • Failing to use a seat belt: 96
  • Impaired driving: 84
  • Distractions: 29

“Our goal is to drive Minnesota traffic deaths to zero,” said Mike Hanson, Minnesota DPS-OTS director. “We can’t reach that goal through enforcement alone. We need the help of every driver and everyone on the road. We are losing too many of our friends and family members to completely preventable events.  Help drive the traffic fatalities down by doing your part. That means always buckling up, driving hands-free and putting the distractions away, always lining up a sober ride and driving the speed limit or according to the conditions of the road.”

A challenging start to 2019

It has been a challenging eight months on Minnesota roads, as 223 people have lost their lives in traffic crashes so far in 2019, compared with 218 reported this time last year.

The 223 deaths in 2019 include (preliminary numbers):

  • 41 unbelted motorists
  • 33 motorcyclists, compared with 45 riders this time last year
  • 25 pedestrians, compared with 18 this time last year
  • Six bicyclists, compared with five this time last year

Drunk driving continued to be a major issue on Minnesota roads with 26,414 DWIs in 2018. Those numbers are equivalent to nearly three DWI arrests per hour. The numbers also revealed:

  • 123 alcohol-related deaths
  • 84 drunk driving fatalities, the most since 2015 (95)
  • 2,156 alcohol-related injuries.

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