From: Sgt. Jacalyn Sticha
Minnesota State Patrol
No seat belts, speed listed as top contributing factors in crashes
The year is off to a deadly start on Minnesota roads, and drivers are being urged to buckle up and slow down.
Nearly two-thirds of the 31 people who died Jan. 1 through Feb. 12, 2014, were not wearing seat belts or were in speeding vehicles, according to preliminary data from the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS/OTS). Alcohol was a contributing factor in four of the crashes.
There were 21 traffic fatalities by Feb. 12 last year. (As data continues to be submitted, OTS is anticipating approximately 385 traffic deaths for 2013, compared to 395 in 2012.)
“It’s up to every person who gets behind the wheel to make a smart choice about how they drive,” said Donna Berger, director of OTS. “Stop this trend by always buckling up, driving at safe speeds, never driving impaired and paying attention.”
Crash Victims’ Memorial Website adds perspective to state’s traffic deaths
The DPS Minnesota Crash Victims Memorial website (minnesotacrashvictims.org), provides a dramatic representation of the lives lost on state roads and “goes beyond the stats.”
While the primary goal is to educate about traffic safety, the site also allows crash victims’ families and friends to present meaningful remembrances of loved ones. The site requires families to enter crash details, such as seat belt or helmet use, as well as impaired or distracted driving, to enhance the education component.
The site allows families to connect with others who have entered a memorial, and gives visitors an opportunity to post photos and offer remembrances in a victim’s guestbook.