MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The number of fatalities on Minnesota roads in 2021 breached 100 this week, marking the earliest date that the grim milestone was recorded in the last six years.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety announced Friday that preliminary figures show 102 people have died on Minnesota roads since Jan. 1. The 100th death occurred Wednesday.
Last year at this time, 82 traffic deaths had been recorded, safety officials say. However, the 2020 figures were likely affected by the drop in traffic attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which closed businesses and pushed many to work from home.
Of the traffic deaths this year, 40% were speed-related, and 38% were attributed to motorists not wearing seat belts, officials say. Just 2% of the deaths involved distracted drivers while 21% involved alcohol.
“Excessive speed continues to take a horrific and preventable toll on our roads,” said Mike Hanson, the director of the Office of Traffic Safety, in a statement. He added: “It doesn’t have to be this way, and every Minnesotan has the power to stop the heartache and make choices that keep everyone alive.”
About half of this year’s traffic deaths were from single-vehicle crashes, the preliminary data shows. Eleven of the fatal crashes involved pedestrians; two involved motorcycles, and another two involved cyclists.
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Source: CBS Minnesota