ST. PAUL – It’s a milestone nobody wants to see but it’s reached every year. Preliminary reports show that two motorcycle fatalities — one in Wright County last week and one in Rochester Sunday night — have contributed to 204 people losing their lives on Minnesota roads so far in 2014. The number of deaths are 16 fewer than were reported this time last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.
Extra DWI Enforcement on Minnesota Roads
To help bring safety to Minnesota roads this month, nearly 400 law enforcement agencies statewide are focusing on drunk drivers as part of an enhanced enforcement campaign from August 16 through Labor Day, September 1.
“As summer winds down, we don’t want people to become statistics in our fatal crash reports because of poor choices behind the wheel,” said Donna Berger, OTS director. “Motorists have to make a conscious decision to slow down, buckle up, drive sober and focus on the road.”
Of the 204 traffic deaths to date this year, 31 were motorcycle fatalities. Out of the 220 traffic fatalities reported last year at this time, 44 were motorcycle deaths.
Driver distraction and speeding are among the top contributors to crashes but alcohol is the top culprit in traffic fatalities. Drunk driving has been responsible for one out of every five traffic fatalities.
In 2013, officers arrested 25,719 motorists for DWI and one in seven Minnesota drivers as a DWI. Officials stress the importance of planning ahead for a sober ride and offering to be a sober driver.
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.
Recent OTS Activity and Statistics
- Officers cited 16,926 drivers for speeding during a July enforcement campaign.
- The May 19-June 1 Click It or Ticket campaign reported 10,874 seat belt citations and 279 child restraint tickets from 329 law enforcement agencies.
- Final reports on enhanced enforcement for distracted driving during April 11-20 reported 827 texting citations from 308 law enforcement agencies.
- Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2013 is a summary of last year’s traffic crashes, derived from law enforcement reports and describes how, why and where crashes occurred and who was involved.
- 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.