Minnesota road deaths are the highest they've been in years

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Road deaths are the highest they've been in Minnesota since 2010, according to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.

Preliminary numbers show 396 people died on Minnesota roads in 2015. The safety department predicts the actual number to come in at 405 (the early figures were calculated before Dec. 31).

That'd be the highest since 2010 when 411 died. In 2014, 361 people died in road related accidents.

Here's a breakdown of the traffic incidents:

  • 361 fatal crashes, compared with 319 in 2014
  • 61 motorcyclist fatalities, compared with 45 in 2014
  • 40 pedestrian fatalities, compared with 16 in 2014
  • 10 bicyclist fatalities, compared with five in 2014

The Department of Public Safety says drunken driving contributed to 25 percent of the fatalities, and distracted driving contributed to 20 percent. The department also notes half the people killed in motor vehicle accidents were not wearing a seat belt.

On New Year's Eve, the Minnesota State Patrol made 152 arrests for driving while impaired, which is 22 less than last year.

Although 2015's fatalities are high, they're still down significantly from 10 years ago when 559 people were killed. The news release says numbers are on the decline due to better education, engineering, enforcement and emergency medical response.

Safety officials ask drivers to be safe in 2016 by driving the speed limit, paying attention, wearing a seat belt and planning a sober ride.

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