ST. PAUL — At least 11 people were killed in the past 10 days on Minnesota roads, according to preliminary traffic crash reports submitted to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.
To-date for the year there have been 47 traffic deaths, down from 57 at this time last year.
Among those killed since Sunday, Feb. 24, was the first pedestrian death of the year and two 16 year olds. Seven of the 11 killed were ages 27 and younger.
First Pedestrian Death of 2013
The year’s first pedestrian death was a 20-year-old male, who was stuck on Saturday, March 2, in Pine County. There were 39 pedestrian deaths in 2012 and 40 in 2011. DPS reports pedestrian deaths remain steady over the years, showing no trends of decline.
Officials remind motorists to drive attentively and to scan for pedestrians. Motorists must stop for those crossing at both marked and unmarked crosswalks. Pedestrians are reminded to make eye contact with drivers to show intent to cross, cross with caution, and continue to look for traffic during the cross — as distracted drivers are not likely looking for pedestrians.
Two Teens Killed, One Seriously Injured
In response to the two teen deaths and another seriously injured, DPS last week called on the support of Minnesota high schools to reinforce safe driving decisions. Traffic crashes are the leading killer of teens due to inexperience, risk-taking, distractions and poor seat belt compliance. DPS and the Minnesota Safety Council provided turn-key resources to help schools promote safe driving tips to students and parents.
“These very sad events serve as an important reminder for parents that teens are not experienced drivers and that it is critical to continue to train them so they grow safer behind the wheel,” says Gordy Pehrson, DPS teen driving coordinator. “A teen with a license still needs to be monitored and trained, especially during their first 12 months of driving.”
Guide for Parents to Establish Safer Teen Drivers
• Provide significant supervised driving training, and continue to do so even after licensure.
• Train teen on a variety of road types (urban, rural) and in different conditions (night, rain, snow).
• Talk with teen to reinforce laws and set limits (such as passenger limitations, nighttime driving) — and use a driving contract between parent and teen to set rules.
• A “teen license parent withdrawal form” is available for parents to cancel the driving privileges of their teen's driver's license (under age 18)
Find resources including a driver’s skills checklist, a parent-teen contract, teen driver laws and the parent withdrawal form online at ots.dps.mn.gov, click on “Teen Driving,” found under “Traffic Topics.”
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 (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. OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.
OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety initiative. 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 trauma response.
Office of Traffic Safety Updates
• Minnesota teens are called on to produce seat belt or distracted driving TV PSAs for their chance to win $1,000 from AAA. Entries are due April 15. Find rules and entry forms at https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/teen-driving/Pages/teen-tv-commercial-challenge.aspx
• Motorcycle rider training courses are available for new and experienced riders — register at motorcyclesafety.org, https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/mmsc/Pages/default.aspx
• In 2012, preliminary crash reports indicate at least 384 deaths. The final fatality number will be released this summer. View final 2011 statistics in the Minnesota Crash Facts report: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/reports-statistics/Pages/crash-facts.aspx
• OTS is investing federal grants totaling more than $7 million to 317 law enforcement agencies and community partner groups for enforcement and education campaigns, Oct. 2012¬–Sept. 30, 2013.
• More than 5,000 DWI offenders are using ignition interlock to benefit road safety and ensure legal, sober driving.
• OTS news archive: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/Pages/news.aspx