The Minnesota Department of Public Safety urges drivers to resolve to better and safer drivers in 2020. Preliminary reports show there were 364 traffic deaths on Minnesota roads in 2019, compared with 381 in 2018.

One fatality has already been reported in 2020. A 17-year-old passenger was killed when the vehicle he was riding in collided with a semi in southeast Minnesota.

A recent fatality happened when a 55-year-old Maple Grove man was killed in Plymouth when a semi ran a red light at an intersection and struck an SUV.

Preventable Deaths

Preliminary numbers show that of the 364 deaths in 2019:

• At least 27 are known to be distraction-related, compared with 29 in 2018.

• 71 were speed-related, compared with 113 in 2018.

• At least 102 were alcohol-related, compared with 123 in 2018.

• 72 were not wearing their seat belts, compared with 96 in 2018.

• 44 were motorcyclists, compared with 58 in 2018.  

• 11 were bicyclists, compared with seven in 2018.

• 50 were pedestrians, compared with 45 in 2018.

• 235 were males (65%) and 129 were females (35%).

 

Monthly Fatalities

The summer months (June-August) accounted for 127 deaths on Minnesota roads or 35% of the year’s fatalities.

Preliminary monthly fatalities in 2019:

• January – 26

• February – 18

• March – 22

• April – 18

• May – 25

• June – 43

• July – 36

• August – 48

• September – 30

• October – 42

• November – 32

• December – 24

 

2020 Extra Enforcement Campaigns

Officers, deputies and troopers will continue extra enforcement, focusing on the four dangerous behaviors that contribute to most traffic deaths on our roads. The following are the upcoming extra enforcement campaigns:

• Distracted — April 6 to 30

• Seat belt and child restraints — May 18 to 31

• Speed — June 22 to July 19

• Hands-free — Aug. 1 to 8

• DWI — Aug. 14 to Sept. 7

• Seat belt and child restraints — Sept. 18 to 30

• DWI — Multiple dates in November and December

 

Drunk Driving is Dangerous Driving

There were a number of people starting the New Year with legal problems. Officers, deputies and troopers made 138 DWI arrests statewide from 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve through 6 a.m. New Year’s Day, compared with 111 during New Year’s Eve 2018.

There were an additional 49 DWI arrests New Year’s Day (6 a.m. Jan 1. to 6 a.m. Jan. 2).

Last year again proved challenging as preliminary reports show 27,975 drivers were arrested for DWI, compared with 26,825 in 2018. The number of DWIs increased 4% in 2019 from the previous year.

 

Prevent Drunk Driving

Plan for a safe ride by designating a sober driver, use a safe, alternative transportation option, or stay at the location of the celebration.

Speak up. Offer to be a designated driver or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere.

Buckle up. Wearing a seat belt is the best defense against a drunk driver.

Report drunk driving. Call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.

Copyright © 2019 at Sun Newspapers/ APG Media of East Central Minnesota. Digital dissemination of this content without prior written consent is a violation of federal law and may be subject to legal action.

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