The number of traffic accident deaths increased sharply nationwide in 2021, and the roads in Minnesota were particularly dangerous. The number of fatalities across the country rose by approximately 10.5% in 2021 according to accident statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but the death toll in the North Star State surged by an alarming 27%. In 2020, emergency workers in Minnesota responded to 394 fatal accident scenes. In 2021, they were dispatched to 500 deadly crashes.
Experts have blamed the dramatic increase in road deaths observed over the last few years on a rise in dangerous behaviors like failing to wear seat belts, speeding and driving while intoxicated, and figures from the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety seem to support this belief. In 2019, 73 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in Minnesota while not restrained by seat belts. In 2022, 108 unrestrained road users lost their lives. More than three-quarters of these fatalities occurred in rural areas, and more than a third of the unrestrained road users killed were under the age of 40.
Safer roads in 2022
OTS data gathered in 2022 indicates that the roads in Minnesota are becoming slightly safer. Year-over-year fatalities in the North Star State fell by approximately 10% to 414 during the first three quarters of 2022, but dangerous driving behavior remains worryingly common. Of the road users killed in Minnesota during the first three quarters of 2022, 17 lost their lives in distracted driving accidents, 109 died in speed-related crashes, 117 were killed in impaired driving accidents and 77 were not wearing seat belts.
Safety should come first
Traffic accident deaths in Minnesota rose significantly in 2021, but the preliminary 2022 data is not quite as grim. Many of these deaths are linked to reckless or negligent behavior, which suggests that some sort of public information campaign is needed. Drunk driving, distraction and speeding put all road users at risk, which is something that many Minnesota residents seem to have forgotten.