ST. PAUL — Minnesota traffic deaths in 2013 continue to climb following a wave of six traffic deaths within a time period of just over 24 hours, Fri.–Sat., according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.
To-date, 122 people have lost their lives in traffic crashes this year, up from 110 at this time in 2012.
The string of fatal crashes started at 4:09 p.m. Friday and ended 5:42 p.m. Saturday. The deaths occurred in Benton, Carlton, Hennepin, Houston, Waseca and Wright counties.
“Sadly, it’s not uncommon to see deadly periods like this in the summer,” says Donna Berger, DPS Office of Traffic Safety director. “It’s our role as motorists to make these crashes and resulting tragedies uncommon, by driving focused, driving at safe speeds and being buckled up.”
The deadliest period of the year to-date was April 6–8, when 12 people were killed in crashes.
Motorcyclist Deaths on Pace with 2012
Among the six people killed during Fri.–Sat. was a 63-year-old female, who was a passenger of a motorcyclist. To-date, 11 rider deaths have been recorded, putting the state on pace with last year, when 55 riders were killed.
Public safety officials are reminding motorcyclists and motorists to drive carefully and share the road now that the riding season is in full swing.
This week, DPS is launching a safety and awareness campaign encouraging motorists to look twice for motorcyclists. The campaign features a TV spot, which dramatically illustrates the life-threatening consequences that can occur when drivers are unaware of motorcyclists.
The campaign also includes digital billboards using the iconic bumper sticker “Start Seeing Motorcyclists” — developed by MMSC in 1985.
The ads will run in the metro, Duluth and Rochester. The “Look Twice” message will also be used behind home plate during June home Twins games.
DPS offers these life-saving safety tips:
- Share the road — motorists should keep a safe distance from all vehicles, especially motorcyclists.
- Look Twice — Watch for motorcycles, and always look twice before entering a roadway or changing lanes.
- Pay attention and drive at safe speeds. Due to the smaller size of motorcycles, their speed and distance is more difficult to judge.
- Wear the gear — motorcyclists should wear brightly colored protective gear and a helmet for visibility and protection.
- Don’t drink and ride — one-third of all motorcycle fatalities involve impaired riders.
- Drive at safe speeds and stay focused on driving—speeding and inattention are the two most-cited contributing factors in motorcycle-only crashes.
- Get trained — courses available for new and experienced riders across the state. View courses and register online at motorcyclesafety.org.
Preliminary reports indicate 55 rider deaths in 2011, up 33 percent from 2011.
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 Highlights