Although the COVID-19 pandemic kept many travelers off Minnesota roads in the early months of 2020, traffic deaths in the state are on track to surpass last year’s total, officials say.
Motor vehicle crashes have killed 285 people in Minnesota so far this year, compared with 263 at the same point in 2019, according to statistics released Monday by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
These include a marked increase in speed-related crashes. Eighty-three deaths this year have been attributed to excessive speed, compared with 58 at this time last year.
Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director, asked Minnesotans to be mindful of their speed, in addition to being free of distractions, buckling their seatbelts and not driving impaired.
“The number of people dying on our roads is alarming and gets scarier each day,” he said in a statement. “While the statistics help us understand what is happening on our roads, each of those losses is a mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter.”
The statistics released Monday also showed increases in pedestrian, bicyclist and motorcyclist deaths in crashes.
Fewer deaths so far this year have been attributed to distracted driving, with 19 falling into that category in 2020, versus 29 in 2019.
Crashes attributed to drunken driving are roughly the same as this point last year at 83.
Law enforcement agencies across the state have arrested 17,477 motorists for driving while intoxicated so far in 2020, compared with 20,922 this time last year.