Minnesota nears 400 traffic deaths in 2021, on pace for most fatal crashes in single year

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Traffic fatalities on Minnesota roads continue to rise in 2021, and this year could be one of the deadliest driving years on record, Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) officials said on Monday.

According to DPS data, 2021’s fatalities are fast approaching 400, and the year is on pace to surpass 2007’s record-setting traffic deaths. The agency is calling on all drivers to drive smart and help reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads.

"Employers across Minnesota can help change the tragic trajectory, and their partnership represents one of the latest action steps to save lives," Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, Booker Hodges, said during a news conference on Monday.

In an effort to reduce serious and fatal traffic crashes, the Minnesota Safety Council joined DPS officials to discuss guidance to state employers about educating workers across Minnesota on safe driving habits.

As of Monday, there have been 384 traffic fatalities this year. That’s a 23% increase over this time last year.

At the current pace, Minnesota could record around 475 traffic deaths this year, with the potential to eclipse 2007’s total of 510. The DPS stated the largest contributing factor in fatal crashes is speed, as 124 of these instances have been speed-related through Oct. 14. This is also an increase (27%) from this time last year and a 107% increase from this time in 2019, the DPS states.

Watch the full news conference above.