Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

200 killed on Minnesota roads this year

Minnesota traffic accidents have claimed the lives of 200 people so far this year, a mark that was reached after a deadly July that killed 43 and a "tragic" first week of August when another 13 died, the Minnesota State Patrol announced today.

Traffic
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Minnesota traffic accidents have claimed the lives of 200 people so far this year, a mark that was reached after a deadly July that killed 43 and a "tragic" first week of August when another 13 died, the Minnesota State Patrol announced today.

Still, that's down 18 percent compared to the 244 people that had died on Minnesota roads by this time in 2010. And the Department of Public Safety projects a total of 362 people will die in traffic accidents this year -- a projection that would represent a 12 percent drop compared to the 411 deaths last year, which was the state's fewest annual traffic fatalities since 1944.

Sgt. Jesse Grabow said the downward trend is most likely happening because of "a little bit of everything," including the growing usage of seat belts and safety advancements to roads and cars.

He said the State Patrol works to address the "four Es," factors that can reduce traffic fatalities -- enforcement, education, engineering and emergency response.

Enforcement efforts in recent years include sobriety checkpoints and stepped up patrols to encourage drivers to buckle up, and Grabow said authorities have put more emphasis on educating the public about being safe while driving.

ADVERTISEMENT

Engineering includes both modern road design and today's safer vehicles, he said, and advances in medical technology have cut into fatality rates and made it faster than ever to transport crash victims to a hospital.

"I really think it is a combination," Grabow said. "It's really coming together, and hopefully everybody just keeps taking notes and improving from here."

'Room for improvement'

Minnesota reached its peak of annual traffic fatalities in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when more than 1,000 people died on the state's roadways each year. But those totals have been on the decline ever since.

The state's fatality rate, which is the number of deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, has also consistently ticked down in the decades since it hovered above 5.0 during the 1960s. The state posted a rate of 0.72 in 2010, Minnesota's record low, which was also well below the national rate of 1.10.

North Dakota's fatality rate actually increased from 2008 to 2009, the most recent data available, from 1.37 to 1.76 after a nearly 35 percent increase in traffic fatalities as 140 people died on the state's roads.

But fatalities in the state dropped back down to 105 in 2010.

Grabow said Minnesota's traffic safety efforts are driven by the "Toward Zero Deaths" initiative, which aims to promote a safe and smart driving culture. The goal is to record 375 or fewer annual deaths by 2014, and the projection for this year -- 362 -- shows that goal might already be within reach.

ADVERTISEMENT

In 1975, Minnesota recorded 123,206 crashes that killed 777 and injured 41,931. But in 2010, the state posted 74,073 crashes that resulted in 411 deaths and 31,176 injuries -- a significant drop considering there are now nearly twice as many licensed drivers and motor vehicles using the state's roads.

Grabow said these statistics show the state's roads are getting safer. Still, he said last year's traffic fatalities -- the fewest since 1944 -- reaffirm that "there's always room for improvement."

"It shows progress, but at the same time that's 411 people that will not be home for holidays and special get-togethers. You can never replace the loss."

Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send email to rjohnson@gfherald.com . Follow him on Twitter: @JohnsonReports.

Traffic fatalities
Traffic fatalities

Related Topics: ACCIDENTS
What To Read Next
Josh Sipes was watching an in-flight movie when he became aware the flight crew were asking for help assisting a woman who was experiencing a medical problem.
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Crisis pregnancy centers received almost $3 million in taxpayer funds in 2022. Soon, sharing only medically accurate information could be a prerequisite for funding.
The Grand Forks Blue Zones Project, which hopes to make Grand Forks not just a healthier city but a closer community, is hosting an event on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Empire Arts Center from 3-5 p.m.