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Traffic Deaths Have Increased Over the Last Month in Minnesota

cars at night after dangerous crashEven though the stay-at-home order issued last month has resulted in a huge decline in the amount of traffic on our state’s roads, there has been a troubling increase in fatal crashes.

Between March 16 and April 9, there were 24 fatal crashes, resulting in 28 deaths. There were just 12 fatal crashes during the same period last year, and 13 during the same period in 2018.

There has been an increase in drivers speeding all over the state because of less traffic, says State Patrol Lt. Gordon Shank. Half of the deaths during the period in question were related to speeding or reckless driving, according to Minnesota’s Traffic Safety office.

All of this has happened despite traffic levels being significantly lower – the level of traffic has been between 34 percent and 55 percent lower every day since March 28 when the stay-at-home order happened. In fact, on April 6, traffic was 47 percent less than the average for Mondays in 2019. Statewide, there was 50 percent less traffic on April 6 compared to last year.

The traffic safety office released a statement saying less traffic does not mean drivers can speed or be extra aggressive. Drivers need to take precautions to help make sure hospital beds are available for those infected with COVID-19.

The total number of traffic deaths this year is 10 percent more than it was at this point last year. As of April 9, there were 76 traffic deaths compared to 69 at this point last year.

Despite these alarming statistics, drunk driving arrests have significantly decreased since restaurants and bars were ordered to shut down, except for delivery or carryout.

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