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Minnesota Has Recorded 202 Traffic Fatalities in First Six Months of 2021

highway leading into minneapolisWe are just six months into the year, and already more than 200 people have died on Minnesota roads. Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) data show there have been 202 traffic fatalities in the first half of the year, the first time this happened in more than 10 years.

This is an increase of 54 deaths compared to the same period last year. However, in 2020, the 200th traffic fatality occurred only one month later than it did this year. 

While the crashes that caused these deaths have a variety of causes, many were the result of speeding, and drunk or distracted driving. Not wearing a seat belt also contributed to fatal injuries in these crashes.

Speeding was a factor in 40 percent of the deaths in the first half of the year. There were 80 deaths that resulted from crashes involving speeding – there were just 49 speeding-related deaths at this point last year. This is also the most speeding-related deaths in the first half of the year since 2009.

Drivers continue to drive over the speed limit despite attempts by the State Patrol to crack down on speeding, according to an article from the StarTribune. Between June 10 and the beginning of the year, 38,819 motorists had been cited for speeding and 550 tickets had been written for drivers who were traveling at a minimum of 100 miles per hour. This month, there will also be a speed enforcement campaign to discourage speeding.

There were 46 people who were not wearing their seat belts who died in the first six months of the year. Another 45 died in crashes involving alcohol and five people died in crashes involving a distracted driver.

Drunk driving is one of the biggest problems on the July 4 weekend. In 2019 alone, 38 percent of crashes that happened during this holiday weekend were a result of drunk driving, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The July 4 holiday weekend is the second-worst holiday for drunk driving, as nearly 3.5 drivers are arrested every hour.  

These are behaviors drivers “can and need to control,” said DPS Office of Traffic Safety Director Mike Hanson.

“What is it going to take for drivers to understand the importance of driving smart?” said Hanson.

The National Safety Council predicted 580 motorists will die over the July 4 holiday weekend. Minnesota DPS data show there was an average of five deaths and 1,500 injuries on the July 4 weekend from 2013 to 2018.

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