Minnesota has reached an unwanted landmark for 2015, with the number of deaths on its roads surpassing the number for all of 2014.
The Department for Public Safety said Wednesday 365 people have died on Minnesota's roads in 2015, compared to the 361 who died last year.
With four weeks of the year still to go the number is almost certain to rise. The DPS said that three men lost their lives on the roads this past week, coinciding with snowy conditions across much of the state.
They were a 24-year-old from Byron, a 60-year-old from Rochester, and a 42-year-old from Pine River.
Despite this, the number of road deaths in Minnesota is still much lower than most years over the past decade, and it's a significant drop from the 559 who died in 2005.
Of the 365 killed so far, 61 of them were motorcyclists (compared to 45 at the same time last year), 36 were pedestrians (16 last year) and 10 were bikers (5 last year).
One in five deaths were caused by speeding, one in four were drunken-driving related, and half of all vehicle occupants killed in crashes weren't wearing seatbelts, DPS says.
Plea to drivers
The DPS is calling on drivers to "recommit to safe driving habits" as the winter season arrives.
"The choices we make on the road affect all of us," Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director said in the press release. "When someone dies in a crash, dreams are shattered, lives are changed and those left behind feel the effects for a lifetime.
"Make the choice this holiday season to give your family the gift of paying attention, slowing down, wearing your seat belt and never driving drunk."
Minnesota law enforcement agencies are currently carrying out extra DWI patrols, which will run every weekend and continue until Jan. 2.