The 100 most-traveled days of the year on Minnesota roads were the deadliest they've been in years.
The stretch from Memorial Day to Labor Day is the busiest time of the year on roads in Minnesota, and this year the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) says 167 people died in traffic-related incidents.
The 167 people who died from June-August is the deadliest three-month stretch in a decade and the deadliest summer since at least 2010, DPS notes.
DPS says this highlights an ongoing traffic safety crisis that began during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re grateful most Minnesotans understand that driving is a serious activity and requires their commitment to safety every single time they’re on the road,” Office of Traffic Safety Director Mike Hanson said in a statement. “What’s so disheartening is when the pandemic hit, an increase in dangerous driving choices by other Minnesotans soon followed.
"Those choices are continuing to plague our roads a year and a half later. Speeding is contributing to so much tragedy, and the summer was no exception. Talk to your family and friends about safe driving choices. Model that behavior," Hanson added. "We all can make those simple decisions to drive smart and live.”
Of the 167 fatalities on Minnesota roads this summer, 35 were alcohol-related, 47 were speed-related, seven involved distracted driving, and 29 deaths were people who weren't wearing their seatbelts.
Last summer (June-August), 158 people died on Minnesota roads, which equates to 40% of the 394 traffic deaths in all of 2020, DPS says.
So far this year, 321 people have died on Minnesota roads. Last year at this time, 256 people had died in traffic-related incidents in Minnesota. That's a 25% increase compared to last year and a 30% increase over 2019.
There will be extra seat belt patrols on Minnesota roads from Sept. 19-30.