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DPS: Fatal crashes down from last year

Preliminary figures show that 301 people have died since Jan. 1 compared to 313 at this time last year.
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ST PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota drivers are back on a promising track.

The Department of Public Safety released the number of fatal crashes so far this year, and for the fourth time in five years, fatal crashes are on the decline.

According to a release, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety says there have been 12 fewer deaths on Minnesota roads compared to this time last year, down from 313.

"Obviously it's encouraging, but it's also a good reminder that we still need to get back to the basics," said Lt. Gordon Shank, Public Information Officer with the Minnesota State Patrol. "One death is one too many...We want to be at zero."

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Last year was the first time since 2015 that the number of deaths on Minnesota roads had risen, but Shank said there's still more left to be done.

"It's been a group effort and a group commitment," Shank said. "We need to continue that to keep getting these numbers down."

Figures also show that the major contributors to fatal crashes continues to be drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding and not wearing a seat belt.

According to the DPS, 2019 has seen 79 alcohol-related deaths (26 percent), 60 speed-related deaths (20 percent), 60 unbelted motorist deaths (20 percent) and 26 distracted driving-related deaths (9 percent).

"One thing to keep in mind is that we're also approaching winter," Shank said. "When the weather is bad, make sure you're giving yourself extra time on the roads."

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