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Families Mourn Loved Ones as Minnesota Reaches Highest Number of Traffic Deaths Since 2007; 497 Lives Lost in Crashes in 2021

Web posted January 11, 2022
497 Traffic Fatalities across the State in 2021
• 497 is the highest number of traffic fatalities since 2007 when there were 510 traffic deaths, according to preliminary figures reported by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.

• Minnesota has averaged 378 traffic fatalities a year from 2016- 2020.

• Minnesota reported the first traffic fatality of 2022 on New Year’s Day when a 51- year-old unbelted male driver was killed in Goodhue County. Alcohol and driving too fast for the conditions are suspected in contributing to the crash.

Sadness and Anger

“I’m saddened knowing how many families lost a loved one in a traffic crash in 2021,” said Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director. “With sadness, there is also anger. Anger that so many motorists are taking the privilege of driving for granted. Some drivers are deliberately exceeding the speed limit, failing to put down the phone, refusing to buckle up and making the poor choice of driving impaired. Until every motorist takes responsibility for their own actions, we’ll continue to see the carnage on our roads. Let’s make sure 2022 isn’t as heartbreaking for Minnesotans.”

Speed and Unbelted Motorists Drove Increase in Fatalities
• Speed was the largest contributing factor in fatal traffic crashes in 2021.

• In 2021, reported figures show:

• 162 speed-related deaths were a 33 percent increase from 2020 and a 116 percent increase from 2019.

• Speed was a factor in 33 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2021 compared with 26 percent over the five years of 2016-20.

• 109 unbelted fatalities in 2021 were 4 percent higher than 2020 (105 in 2020), and 49 percent higher than 2019 (73 in 2019).

Bad Choices. Tragic Results.

In addition to deaths in speed-related crashes, preliminary information shows:
• 124 alcohol-related deaths compared with 135 in 2020 and 114 in 2019.

• 24 distracted-related deaths compared with 32 in 2020 and 34 in 2019.

• 109 unbelted motorist deaths compared with 105 in 2020 and 73 in 2019.

The 497 Traffic Fatalities Include:
• 67 motorcyclists compared with 64 in 2020 and 44 in 2019.

• 58 pedestrians compared with 45 in 2020 and 50 in 2019.

• Nine bicyclists compared with 10 reported in 2020 and 10 in 2019.

Fatality Breakdown
Out of the 497 fatalities on Minnesota roads, 72 percent are male.

Age Total %
10 and under 7 1.4%
11-20 48 9.7%
21-30 84 16.9%
31-40 86 17.3%
41-50 59 11.9%
51-60 71 14.3%
61-70 67 13.5%
71+ 74 14.9%
Unknown 1 0.2%

Lives Lost in Traffic Crashes
• The slow scroll of names found at dps.mn.gov is a somber reminder of friends and family who will never return home to their loved ones.

• Prevent tragedy by buckling up, paying attention, watching your speed, driving sober and driving smart.

Resources: DriveSmartMN.org

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