Credit: Lowell Anderson, Alexandria Echo Press
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Public Safety officials are noting an uptick in numbers that is not something to celebrate.
Year-end statistics compiled by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety show that 378 people were killed in traffic-related incidents in 2012.
That number is up from 368 last year.
DPS projects the final 2012 total, available in early summer as additional crash reports are submitted, to be around 390, six percent above the 2011 figure.
Officials expect common traffic safety issues will again be the primary contributing factors for traffic deaths in 2012: drunk driving, seat belt non-use, speeding and distracted driving.
It's believed that warmer start to 2012 led to faster, unsafe speeds, and a spike in motorcyclist fatalities were the main factors for the increase in deaths. An early spring led to a longer and deadlier riding season as 53 motorcyclists were killed, a 26 percent increase from 42 deaths in 2011.
"We can't forget the victims lost in these crashes, they are the reasons and reminders we all need to commit to safe driving behaviors in 2013," said Donna Berger, DPS Office of Traffic Safety director.
In the last decade, the state's annual traffic deaths have trended downward.
- 2002 - 657 deaths
- 2003 - 655
- 2004 - 567
- 2005 - 559
- 2006 - 494
- 2007 - 510
- 2008 - 455
- 2009 - 421
- 2010 - 411
- 2011 - 368.
In 2011, Minnesota had among the lowest and safest death rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the nation at 0.65.
2012 Preliminary Death Results
The 378 deaths noted so far in 2012 include:
- 281 motorists - down from the final 283 in 2011
- 53 motorcyclists - up from 42 in 2011
- 38 pedestrians - even with the 38 in 2011
- 6 bicyclists - up from five in 2011.
The deadliest months in 2012 were September (48), August (42) and October (38).
The safest months were April (19), January (20) and March (23).
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