Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, known as the 100 deadliest days on Minnesota roads, again proved to be a tragic time in 2019. More than half of the traffic fatalities so far this year occurred during this period.
There were 132 deaths this summer, including a two-car crash that took six lives. The 132 lives that have been lost represent 57 percent of all traffic fatalities so far in 2019.
The 123 fatalities during the 100 deadliest days in 2018 represented 53 percent of traffic fatalities during the same time period.
Preliminary numbers show that of the 132 deaths:
• At least 10 are known to be distraction-related, compared with nine in 2018.
• 27 are speed-related, compared with 32 in 2018.
• 32 are alcohol-related, compared with 44 in 2018.
• 22 were not wearing seat belts, compared with 18 in 2018.
• 33 were motorcyclists, compared with 43 last year. Of the 33 motorcyclists who died, 22 were not wearing a helmet, compared with 30 in 2018.
• Eight were pedestrians, compared with seven in 2018.
• Five were bicyclists, compared with three in 2018.
• 88 were males, while 44 were female.
To educate drivers on the dangers of drunk driving and planning a safe ride home, a statewide extra enforcement and awareness campaign took place Aug. 16 through Sept. 2.
The DWIs by month:
• June - 2,571
• July - 2,543
• August - 2,659
The 7,773 DWIs during the summer compares with 7,050 during the summer of 2018.
The public is reminded Minnesota is now a hands-free cell phone state, meaning a driver can no longer hold a phone in their hand while driving. Learn more at HandsFreeMN.org.
The public is reminded of these safety tips to help prevent traffic injuries and fatalities:
• If you are with a driver who is distracted by their phone, speak up, tell them to put the phone down and offer to be their designated texter.
• Refuse to drive until every passenger is buckled up.
• Slow down —trying to save a few minutes off your drive isn’t worth causing a crash.
• Plan ahead before you go out by designating a sober driver, and if you see a person who has had too much to drink, speak up and find them a safe ride home.
Find more information at www.dps.mn.gov.
– Photo courtesy of the Internet Public Domain