Speed kills: State tops 300 traffic deaths before Labor Day

Published 4:38 pm Monday, August 30, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota reached 300 traffic accident deaths before Labor Day for the first time in more than a decade, prompting state public safety officials on Monday to issue a plea for people to slow down.

The state reported its 300th fatality on Saturday, which is the earliest the state has eclipsed that threshold since 2007, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety. There were 240 traffic deaths in the state at this time last year and the state did not reach 300 until October.

Officials attributed 103 of the deaths, or about 40%, to speeding, compared to 78 at this time last year.

“This many preventable deaths on Minnesota roads before Labor Day is completely unacceptable,” said Office of Traffic Safety Director Mike Hanson. “It’s not a homework assignment, you don’t get a do-over. We all need to drive smart to keep our family, friends and neighbors alive.”

Nearly three-fourths of all victims were male, with the majority between 21 and 30 years old.

Alcohol-related deaths stand at 74, which is down from 88 at this time last year and 136 in 2011. Drunken driving-related deaths comprised 20% of all traffic fatalities in 2020 compared to more than half of all traffic deaths in the 1960’s. State officials say the lower numbers are due in large part to extra impaired driving enforcement.