Skip to main content

Early snapshot: Traffic fatalities up in 2014 so far

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Minnesota transportation officials not long ago announced good news: Traffic fatalities in the state dropped in 2013, continuing a downward trend in the last decade. There were 375 traffic fatalities last year, down from 395 in 2012.

But in 2014 so far, the trend has reversed a bit. To be sure, it's very early in the year, but an early snapshot shows that through Feb. 5, there were 28 traffic deaths in the state, well above the 18 at this point last year. (The state keeps a year-to-date tally on its traffic safety page.)

That's the wrong direction as state officials seek to hit a goal of lowering traffic fatalities to 350 this year, as part of the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) program, launched in 2003.

To hit that target, state officials say they are focusing on four areas: education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response. When it comes to enforcement, state officials say that the 25 counties with the highest totals of alcohol-related fatalities will be the focus of increased DWI enforcement through September 2014.

National traffic safety advocates say states should go further. The group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety says Minnesota specifically needs four tougher laws:

– An all-rider motorcycle helmet law.

– Raising the minimum age for a learner's permit from 15 to 16 and to 18 for an unrestricted license.

– A tougher nighttime driving restriction for teens with graduated drivers' licenses.

– Required ignition interlocks for all drunken-driving offenders.

The progressive nonprofit group Minnesota 2020 advocates another step: The aggressive pursuit at a national level of vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology, which allows cars to "talk" to each other and avoid crashing.

Next Up

Scripps National Spelling Bee

These Minnesota kids will be competing at National Spelling Bee

The upcoming event in Maryland will be the first fully in-person Scripps National Spelling Bee since 2019.

covid, kids

New data shows how omicron has impacted kids in Minnesota

The new data shows breakthrough data during the omicron period, which began Dec. 19, 2021.

Javen Juan Moreno

Albert Lea shooting suspect arrested after 3 weeks on the run

He is accused of shooting a man in the upper thigh on May 1.


Motorcyclist, 59, killed after losing control on right curve

The Harley Davidson rider was thrown from his bike.

state capitol Minnesota

Minnesota's 2022 legislative session: What's happening?

A list of items agreed upon and yet to reach any bipartisan agreement in the latest legislative session.

water drain

Water main break floods 40-45 homes in St. Louis Park

The city says the rupture happened on Minnetonka Boulevard.

Eli Hart

Charges: 6-year-old Eli Hart shot up to 9 times by his mother

The 28-year-old is facing 2nd-degree murder charges.

dave lee wcco radio

Former WCCO Radio host Dave Lee moves into podcasts

His new podcast, called 'My First Concert,' launched last week.

Tow Boat

Tow boat collides with Mississippi River lock and dam in Alma, WI

The crash remains under investigation by the United States Coast Guard.

unsplash school bus

Police: Man in minivan approached kids, claimed he was former principal

Investigators say children were approached by a man in a white minivan who falsely claimed he'd been a local school principal.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, May 23

The latest from the state health department.

police tape, crime scene

Police: 2 people shot, 1 fatally over the weekend in La Crosse

Officers arrived to the scene and found one person suffering multiple gunshot wounds.