Driving-related deaths on Minnesota roads are rising at a blistering pace and the Department of Public Safety is again asking motorists to make good choices while traveling.
The alert comes after 12 people died in traffic crashes in the first six days of May, including five motorcyclists. What's more is that of the 12 deaths, four were speed-related, three involved alcohol or drugs and two were unbelted motorists.
The DPS tallied 122 deaths on Minnesota roads through May 6, which is well ahead of 2020's pace when there were 93 deaths at the same point. Minnesota finished 2020 with 394 driving-related deaths, putting this year on pace to surpass 400 for the first time since 2015.
- 2020: 394 deaths
- 2019: 364
- 2018: 381
- 2017: 358
- 2016: 392
- 2015: 411
- 2014: 361
- 2013: 387
- 2012: 395
- 2011: 368
- 2010: 411
- 2009: 421 (lowest since 1944)
- 2008: 455 (lowest since 1945)
- 2007: 510
- 2006: 494
- 2005: 559
- 2004: 567
The numbers above show the significant progress Minnesota has made in the past decade. In 2011, when 368 people died on state roads, it marked the first time since 1944 that fewer than 400 people perished in driving-related crashes in Minnesota.
“One bad choice on the road can lead to a lifetime of regret,” said Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director, in a release. “Nobody says goodbye to their loved ones at the beginning of the day, expecting it to be the last goodbye. By driving smart, we can help our friends, neighbors and loved ones get home safely. To help reduce to the significant increase in traffic fatalities on our road, we ask everyone to drive smart by slowing down, paying attention, planning a sober ride and buckling up.”
Of the 12 people killed in the first six days of May, five were motorcyclists. Of those five, a 35-year-old not wearing a helmet and using drugs crashed while going 79 mph in a 55 mph zone. In Hibbing, a 46-year-old man who had been drinking ran off the road and died in a crash. He also was not wearing a helmet, according to the DPS.
In Red Wing, a 23-year-old man on a motorcycle died when his bike broke up after hitting a curb while going 70 mph in a 45 mph zone, the DPS said.
Alcohol and drugs are suspected in a Cass County fatal crash where a driver was going 80 mph in a 30 mph zone, the DPS notes.
Here are the descriptions of the 12 fatal crashes in the DPS news release:
• A 35-year-old male motorcyclist not wearing a helmet, who was driving 79 mph in a 55 zone. He ran off the road in McLeod County. Drug use is suspected.
• A 46-year-old male motorcyclist who was not wearing a helmet, took a wide right turn onto a dirt shoulder in Hibbing, moved back onto the street and lost control. Alcohol use is suspected.
• A 29-year-old male driver going 80 mph in a 30 mph zone on a Cass County road. He ran off the road, hit an embankment and overturned multiple times. Alcohol and drugs are suspected.
• A 23-year-old male driver ran off a St Paul street, overturned and was ejected.
• A 52-year-old motorcyclist not wearing a helmet was exceeding the speed limit on a Stearns County road. He ran off the road at a curve and hit mailboxes and a fence.
• A 72-year-old male semitruck driver drifted off the left side of Hwy 12 in Swift County and overturned.
• A 23-year-old male motorcyclist, traveling around 70 mph in a posted 45 speed zone in Red Wing hit a curb, causing the bike to break up, ejecting the rider.
• A 28-year-old unbelted female driver ran off a city street in Rock Creek and was found partially submerged in a river.
• A 26-year old-male driver in a pickup collided head-on with a car driven by a 37-year-old female driver on Highway 59 in Murray County. Both drivers died.
• A 23-year-old woman was killed when she collided with a pickup in Cass County.
• A 31-year-old male motorcyclist was killed when he lost control on a curve, was thrown from his vehicle and hit a sign while riding on Highway 3 in Inver Grove Heights.