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Minn. 2015 traffic deaths surpass last year’s totals

ST. PAUL — Traffic deaths in Minnesota in 2015 have surpassed last year’s totals.

With a month left to go in the year, preliminary numbers from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety show 365 people have died so far on the state’s roads this year. That compares with 361 for all of last year.

This year’s traffic deaths include 61 motorcyclists, up from 45 at this time last year; 36 pedestrians, up from 16 a year ago at this time; and 10 bicyclists, compared with five this time last year.

While traffic deaths have increased this year, officials said Minnesota road fatalities have steadily declined over the past decade.

State officials are asking motorists to recommit to safe driving habits as winter weather conditions return to Minnesota.

“The choices we make on the road affect all of us,” said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director. “When someone dies in a crash, dreams are shattered, lives are changed and those left behind feel the effects for a lifetime. Make the choice this holiday season to give your family the gift of paying attention, slowing down, wearing your seat belt and never driving drunk.”

Officials said speed, drunken driving, distracted drivings and  seat belts are contributing factors to fatalities.