ST. PAUL — Preliminary crash reports indicate four people were killed on Minnesota roads during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety
The deaths pushed the state’s annual traffic fatality count above the 100-death milestone — there have been 103 deaths this year compared to 108 at this time in 2011.
A motorcycle operator and his passenger accounted for two of the four deaths this weekend. To-date, the preliminary rider death tally is 13 for the year, compared to five at this time in 2011.
Preliminary Traffic Deaths for Memorial Day Weekend Travel Period (6 p.m. Friday–12 a.m. Tuesday):
On Saturday, May 26 at 6:13 a.m., a 32-year-old female driver was killed in Rock County on County Road 10. She was not buckled up and alcohol was involved.
Twelve hours later at 6:36 p.m. in Jackson County, a 34-year-old male motorcycle operator and his 38-year-old female passenger crashed on County Road 4. The passenger was killed and the operator died in the early morning of Wednesday, May 30.
On Monday, May 28 at 11 a.m. in Pope County, an 80-year-old female driver was killed at a crash at the intersection of Hwy. 29 and County Road 18.
“It was a sad and tragic start to the summer driving season and another reminder for all of us to drive attentively and with safety at top of mind,” says Donna Berger, director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety.
Click It or Ticket Continues through June 3
Statewide, enhanced Click It or Ticket seat belt patrols continue through June 3 in Minnesota and nationwide. Unbelted motorists have represented a significant amount of Minnesota’s traffic fatalities during 2009–2011 — with teens and young adults, and motorist in Greater Minnesota, as the main victims:
There were 878 motorist traffic deaths of which 377 (43 percent) were not buckled up.
Of the 377 unbelted deaths, 179 (48 percent) of the victims were age 30 or younger.
Of the 377 unbelted deaths, 300 (80 percent) occurred outside the seven-county Twin Cities’ area.
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.