ST. PAUL, Minn. – This year is off to a deadly start on Minnesota roads, and drivers are being urged to buckle up and slow down.
Nearly two-thirds of the 31 people who died Jan. 1-Feb. 12 were not wearing their seat belts or were in speeding vehicles, according to preliminary data from the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS/OTS). Alcohol was a contributing factor in four of the crashes.
There were 21 traffic fatalities by Feb. 12 last year. As data continues to be submitted, OTS is anticipating approximately 385 traffic deaths for 2013, compared to 395 in 2012.
“It’s up to every person who gets behind the wheel to make a smart choice about how they drive,” said Donna Berger, director of OTS. “Stop this trend by always buckling up, driving at safe speeds, never driving impaired and paying attention.”
Crash Victims’ Memorial Website Adds Perspective to State’s Traffic Deaths
The DPS Minnesota Crash Victims Memorial
website provides a dramatic representation of the lives lost on state roads and “goes beyond the stats.”
While the primary goal is to educate about traffic safety, the site also allows crash victims’ families and friends to present meaningful remembrances of loved ones. The site requires families to enter crash details, such as seat belt or helmet use, as well as impaired or distracted driving, to enhance the education component.
The site allows families to connect with others who have entered a memorial, and gives visitors an opportunity to post photos and offer remembrances in a victim’s guestbook.
About the Minnesota Department 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
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 Highlights
- Roads in Minnesota’s 25 counties with the highest combined totals of drunk driving traffic deaths and alcohol-related serious injuries will be a primary focus for increased DWI enforcement through September 2014.
- In a continuing effort to advance traffic safety in Minnesota, DPS awarded new federal grants totaling more than $8.5 million for regional partners to support overtime traffic safety enforcement and educational efforts through September 2014.
- OTS projects around 395 traffic deaths for 2013 – approximately the same number of traffic deaths that occurred in 2012.
- OTS news archive.
- OTS PSA archive.
- Media are encouraged to localize traffic safety news by referencing county-specific crash facts.