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NEWS RELEASE

Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
CONTACT:
Nathan Bowie  (651) 201-7571
nathan.bowie@state.mn.us
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2012
99 State Traffic Deaths To-Date as Minnesotans Take On-Ramp to Memorial Day Weekend
Profiles of Crash Victims on Memorial Website Give Added Meaning to Statistics
 

ST. PAUL — Minnesota is approaching the 100-traffic fatality milestone for the year, just prior to the historically deadly Memorial Day weekend, a period that has accumulated 29 deaths during the last five years (nine in 2010 and 13 in 2009). In 2011, however, there were zero deaths during the weekend, the safest Minnesota Memorial Day travel period on record, dating back to 1975.

Increased, statewide Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement continues during the holiday weekend and through June 3.

The 2012 preliminary count of 99 is a 6 percent decrease from the 105 deaths at this time in 2011, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.

“After a deadly start early in the year, we’ve seen a reduction in the fatalities,” says Donna Berger, DPS Office of Traffic Safety director, citing this year’s deaths were once 20 ahead of last year’s pace. “We can still continue to limit deaths if we all buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and drive sober.”

At this rate, DPS projects around 365 deaths for 2012. In 2011, the 100-death mark was also hit in late May. The final 2011 count will be announced soon and will be under 400 deaths for the first time since 1944.

Crash Victims Memorial Website Adds Perspective to the Numbers

The DPS MinnesotaCrashVictims.org memorial website, launched in early 2011, provides a dramatic representation of the lives lost on state roads and “goes beyond the stats,” according to state traffic safety officials. DPS is reminding Minnesotans about the site to stress safe driving behaviors prior to the deadly summer driving season.

“Stats and numbers can’t compare to the heartbreaking realities of crash victims,” says Berger. “These stories connect people to the real life-and-death consequences of unsafe driving.”

The site allows crash victims’ families to present an intimate and meaningful remembrance of a loved one, while the primary goal is to educate Minnesotans about traffic safety. The site requires families to enter victim crash details, such as seat belt or helmet use, and 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 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 traffic safety initiative.
 
Recent OTS Activity
  • OTS launched a statewide Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement effort, running through June 3 featuring a dramatic TV spot and digital billboards comparing crashing unbelted at 60 mph to falling from 12 stories high.

  • Preliminary results from a statewide distracted driving enforcement effort April 19 resulted in 97 texting while driving citations and more than 2,400 vehicle stops.

  • OTS released a study conducted by the University of Minnesota that found the primary seat belt law has resulted in 68 fewer deaths since the law was enacted nearly three years ago.

  • OTS is coordinating a pilot program for parent-teen driver awareness courses, to educate parents about their responsibilities to train and monitor their new teen driver.

  • A St. Michael teen won the $1,000 grand prize of the Buckle Up Teens! TV Commercial Challenge with 80 percent of the vote. The contest calls on teens to create TV PSAs to educate peers. View the winner and finalists at http://rockthebelt.org/buckleupteens/. Cash prizes donated by AAA Minnesota/Iowa.

 
 
#ClickItorTicket
 
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 | dps.mn.gov