Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Minnesota has now surpassed last year's traffic fatality count, a sad reminder that all motorists need to make safe driving behaviors a priority when they are behind the wheel. With a month to go in the year, preliminary numbers from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) show 365 people have died so far on Minnesota roads compared with 361 for all of last year.
The numbers are more than statistics, and they represent lives gone too soon. In the last week, Minnesota lost:
·         A 24-year-old Byron man who died after a head on collision in Olmsted County.
·         A 60 year old Rochester man who was killed while standing at an intersection in Olmsted County.
·         A 42-year-old Pine River man who lost control of his vehicle, hit a sign and rolled.
The 365 traffic deaths to date included:
·         61 motorcyclists, compared with 45 this time last year.
·         36 pedestrians, compared with 16 this time last year.
·         10 bicyclists, compared with five this time last year.
A Challenge to Motorists
With winter weather conditions upon us, state officials are asking motorists to recommit to safe driving habits so they can spend their holidays at home with family and friends and not at a funeral home planning to bury a loved one.
"The choices we make on the road affect all of us," said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director. "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."
Road Fatality Contributing Factors in Minnesota
·         Speed: one in five deaths.
·         Drunk Driving: one in four fatalities.
·         Distracted Driving: one in five fatalities.
·         Half of motor vehicle occupants killed were not wearing their seat belt. 
Making a Difference
While the increase in 2015 traffic fatalities is cause for concern, motor vehicle deaths have steadily declined over the last decade.  With a focus on education, enforcement, engineering and emergency medical services, Minnesota road fatalities have dropped 35 percent since 2005.
2005 – 2014 Minnesota traffic fatalities
Extra DWI Patrols now on Minnesota Roads
More than 300 law enforcement agencies are working overtime this holiday season to prevent drunk driving tragedies on Minnesota roads.
The extra DWI enforcement campaign runs every weekend now through January 2. The statewide enforcement involves police departments, sheriff's offices and the State Patrol. Officers, deputies and troopers work overtime enforcement with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. DPS-OTS coordinates the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement and education effort. 
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Office of Traffic Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. DPS-OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.
DPS-OTS is an anchoring partner of the state's Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety program. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes – education, enforcement, engineering, and emergency medical and trauma response.
Recent DPS-OTS Activity and Statistics 
·         During October's Click It or Ticket campaign, law enforcement reported 5,550 motorists were cited for seat belt violations from Oct. 9 – 25, a 33 percent drop from last year's October wave when 8,195 motorists were ticketed and the lowest since 2010.
·         Officers, deputies and troopers made 1,513 arrests during the enhanced DWI enforcement campaign Aug. 21 – Sept. 7; that's compared with 1,340 during the campaign a year ago.
·         Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2014 is a summary of traffic crashes derived from law enforcement reports and describes how, why and where crashes occurred and who was involved.

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