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Fatal crashes spike despite fewer vehicles on the road

The Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety says more than half of those deaths are either speed related or caused by careless or negligent driving.
Credit: KARE
Ambulance leaves crime scene

ST PAUL, Minn. — While the number of drivers on the road have decreased significantly, the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety is seeing an alarming surge in traffic deaths.

Since March 16, when Gov. Tim Walz initially signed an executive order to temporarily close all bars and restaurants, the agency is reporting 24 fatal crashes on Minnesota roads, which is a major increase from previous years in that time span. Walz later made further restrictions to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including a "Stay at Home" order, which was extended on Wednesday to May 4.

According to the Office of Traffic Safety, this year's fatalities from March 16 to April 3 are more than the previous two years combined. According to the statistics, there were 12 fatal crashes during that span in 2019 and 10 in 2018.

The agency says 14 of the 24 deaths are either speed related or caused by careless or negligent driving.

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