ST. PAUL — Traffic fatalities rose this summer in Minnesota, though the increase cannot be directly pinned on alcohol or speed-related crashes, which both showed decreases from a year ago, data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety revealed.
In what state officials call the “100 deadliest days” on Minnesota roadways, the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day resulted in 132 deaths, up from 123 during the same period in 2018. Twenty-two vehicle occupants who were not wearing their seat belts died compared to 18 a year ago.
The summer was marked by one of the deadliest accidents the state has ever recorded when six people were killed in a head-on crash near Rochester. At least three were not wearing seat belts, the State Patrol report said.
At least 10 deaths were attributed to distractions, compared with nine a year ago. Speed-related fatalities were down five at 27, and the alcohol-related traffic deaths were down to 32 from 44 in 2018, the Department of Public Safety report said.
The 132 fatalities make up 57% of all traffic fatalities reported in the state this year.
While fatalities related to alcohol dropped, the state showed a significant rise in drunk driving arrests, which increased to 7,773 from 7,050 a year ago during the June-August period.