More than 200 people have died on MN roads this year – up sharply from 2014


Last year at this time, 166 people had been killed on Minnesota's roads.

In 2015, that number has jumped significantly – up to 201 traffic deaths after at least three more fatal crashes this past weekend.

"Every driver needs to make a commitment to drive safely and stop this deadly trend on Minnesota roads,” said Donna Berger, Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety director, in an email news release. “We ask everyone to pay attention, drive the speed limit, buckle up and never drive drunk.”

The department also breaks down the type of accidents.

Motorcyclist deaths have doubled, from 18 in 2014 to 37 this year.

Pedestrian deaths have done the same, jumping from eight last year to 17 in 2015.

There are 145 "motorist" deaths so far, up from 137; and two bicyclist fatalities, down from three at this point in 2014, the department says.

Authorities are currently cracking down on speeding, in an extra-enforcement campaign that runs through July 26. The campaign is an overtime initiative, with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

On nice summer days, people tend to drive faster – and going at a faster, unsafe speed is one of the leading causes of fatalities on Minnesota roads, officials said at a news conference.

Typically the summer months – June through August – are the deadliest on state roads, averaging 28 fatalities over those 100 days.

On average, one in five fatal crashes is caused by excess speed, officials say, and had been the top factor in crashes – last year however, driver inattention or distraction passed speed as the number one contributing factor, the Department of Public Safety says.

Still, officials note annual traffic deaths went down each of the past three years: from 395 in 2012, to 387 in 2013, to 361 in 2014.

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