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Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
Nick Carpenter  651-201-7569
November 20, 2013
Minnesota Law Enforcement, Safety Groups Receive Federal Grants for Toward Zero Deaths Traffic Safety Programs

​ST. PAUL, Minn. — In a continuing effort to advance traffic safety in Minnesota, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) is awarding new federal grants totaling more than $8.5 million for regional partners to support overtime Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety enforcement and educational efforts through September 2014.

“Investing resources to advance traffic safety enforcement and education efforts throughout the state has always been important, but it’s even more vital now,” said Commissioner Dohman. “More people died on Minnesota roads in 2012 than the year before and, unfortunately, we are on pace to match that number in 2013. Our local partners are a critical part of the efforts to reverse this trend and make our roads safer.”

Minnesota Traffic Deaths — 4,835 Killed During Past Decade
From 2003–2007, 2,785 people lost their lives in traffic crashes on Minnesota roads, compared to 2,050 deaths from 2008–2012—a 26 percent decline.

  • Annual Traffic Deaths last 10 years (4,835 total): 2003 — 655; 2004 — 567; 2005 — 559;
    2006 — 494; 2007 — 510; 2008 — 455; 2009 — 421; 2010 — 411; 2011 — 368; 2012 — 395.
  • During the past decade, 47.9 percent of the 1,762 motor vehicle deaths were unbelted occupants.
  • Drunk driving crashes resulted in 1,420 deaths in the past decade, representing 29.4 percent of the state’s total deaths.

For a regional breakdown of grant distribution and traffic deaths, visit

After Years of Progress, State Traffic Deaths No Longer Declining
Despite the progress of decreasing Minnesota traffic deaths in recent years, the state is facing a second consecutive year without a decrease in fatalities.

Unsafe driver behavior is likely one factor for the trend. Those behaviors include distracted driving, speeding, impaired driving and lack of seat belt use.

A jump in motorcycle deaths also has supported the increase. To-date, there are 332 fatalities, compared to 332 at this time last year.

“We all share the road, so we all need to share the responsibility of making our roads safe,” Commissioner Dohman said. “Our focus when we are behind the wheel must be driving at safe speeds and without distraction, making sure everyone is buckled up, and never drinking and driving.”

Toward Zero Deaths
TZD is the state’s primary traffic safety initiative that applies four strategic areas — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response — to reduce deaths and injuries. DPS, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Health lead the program.

This year, DPS Office of Traffic Safety is providing TZD grants to statewide law enforcement agencies and partners to increase seat belt use, prevent drunk driving, and to encourage attentive driving and driving at safe speeds. The grant dollars also support DWI courts, which provide a rehabilitation process for DWI offenders. The grants are federal funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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 motorcycle safety programs and child seats for needy families.

OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths 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




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