ST. PAUL, Minn. (Valley News Live) The Minnesota State Patrol is warning drivers about a deadly trend on the roads.
A 23-year-old woman was killed when she lost control of her vehicle on an icy road in Dakota County and collided head-on with another vehicle.
An SUV ran off the road and the 43-year-old driver was ejected and killed in the resulting rollover crash in Anoka County.
Officials say these are lives recently cut short and part of a disturbingly higher pace of traffic deaths so far this year.
• In 2017, 358 people died in traffic crashes.
• So far in 2018, 350 people have died in crashes on Minnesota roads (preliminary figure).
• At this time last year, 333 people had lost their lives in traffic crashes.
Busy Time of the Year
The busyness of the season will accelerate with holiday preparations, parties and gatherings of families and friends.
Minnesotans can prevent the fun from turning tragic by taking time to be intentional about staying safe on the road.
Preliminary numbers show out of the 350 deaths so far this year:
• At least 24 are known to be distraction-related.
• 95 were speed-related.
• 109 were alcohol-related.
• 83 were not wearing their seat belts.
• 58 were motorcyclists. Of the 58 motorcyclists who died, 42 (72 percent) were not wearing a helmet.
• 7 were bicyclists.
• 35 were pedestrians.
Preliminary monthly fatalities in 2018 include:
• January – 22
• February – 19
• March – 18
• April – 26
• May – 36
• June – 34
• July – 40
• August – 33
• September – 41
• October – 47
• November – 30
• Over the last 5 years, an average of 31 lives have been lost during the month of December.
Extra Holiday DWI Enforcement
• To keep Minnesotans safe and promote the life-saving importance of planning a safe ride home over the holidays, a statewide extra enforcement and awareness campaign is running on weekends through Dec. 29.
• On average, nearly 2,500 people are arrested for DWI between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
• In the last five years (2013-2017), 28 people died in drunk driving-related crashes during the holiday DWI extra enforcement period (falls within the Thanksgiving through end-of-December timeframe).
• During the holiday season and throughout the year, law enforcement needs the help of every Minnesotan to plan ahead for a sober ride if alcohol or any substance that impairs their driving are being consumed.
• If you feel different, you drive different, whether it's from alcohol, a prescription or any other drug.
Speak Up and Save Lives
• If you are with a driver who is distracted, 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.