The 'trend is going the wrong direction': MN hits 100 traffic deaths


One hundred people have been killed on Minnesota roads since the start of the year.

The unwanted milestone comes slightly earlier than it did in 2015. There were 411 traffic deaths last year, marking the first time in five years road fatalities surpassed 400.

And right now, the state is on track to reach or pass that mark again this year, the Department of Public Safety said in a news release Thursday. And that's concerning to officials.

"The trend is going in the wrong direction," Donna Berger, the director of the Office of Traffic Safety, told BringMeTheNews.

This has officials urging motorists and others who use the road to be safe, avoid distractions, drive the speed limit, stay sober and wear their seatbelt.

"By recommitting ourselves to safe driving habits, we can join together in making our roads safe [for] everyone," Berger said in the release.

Of the 100 people who died in the first 120 days of 2016:

  • 12 were pedestrians
  • Six were motorcyclists
  • One was a bicyclist

Pedestrian deaths by the numbers

Traffic officials have seen steady progress in lowering traffic numbers in some areas, but that hasn't been the case with pedestrian fatalities, Berger told BringMeTheNews.

The 12 pedestrians killed so far this year mark a slight rise compared to 2015. At this time last year, there were 10 pedestrian fatalities.

In all of last year, 40 pedestrians were killed in traffic-related incidents, which is about average, Berger explained.

That's except for 2014, when 17 pedestrians were killed on Minnesota roads. Berger called that year "encouraging," but said after last year's numbers there is still a lot more work to do.

Officials are urging motorists to pay attention and watch for pedestrians, but also asking pedestrians to be safe and smart when crossing the road – make sure motorists see you before you walk into the street, Berger advises, and wear reflective clothing if walking around after dark.

The investigations into this year's pedestrian fatalities aren't complete, so the contributing factors to the incidents aren't yet known. But Berger told BringMeTheNews that in some instances people were wearing dark-colored clothing and were not in well-lit areas when they were killed.

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