Last year, we reviewed the Department of Public Safety’s Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2010 to point out how far Minnesota has come in terms of car accidents over the years. Now, the 2011 version of that document has been released, and our state has taken more steps in the right direction.

In 2011, traffic deaths decreased to 368. That’s a 10.5% decrease in deaths from 2010. This is more significant than it sounds! If you go back just six years to 2005, traffic deaths were at 559. As a state, we’ve taken great leaps with our Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative goal. While traffic deaths decreased, so did injuries by about 1,000.

Out of overall crashes in Minnesota, young people and males are the most likely to be involved. In fact:

“People aged 14-24 make up 14.9% of the licensed drivers, yet they accounted for 24.2% of the crash-involved drivers. Drivers aged 20-24 are the worst, from this perspective.”
This is why it’s so important to teach our young drivers about the dangers of distractions and the importance of safe driving and seat belts.

It’s no secret that seat belts save lives. In 2011, of the 271 motor vehicle occupants that were killed, only 126, or 46%, were buckled up. Just imagine how much smaller the number of total deaths could be of those other 145 people had been wearing their seat belts, giving them a better chance of surviving the crash.

Alcohol is still a top factor in car accidents in Minnesota, although it has decreased significantly over the past couple decades. In 2011, there were 136 alcohol-related fatalities. While that’s a large number, it’s down from 411 in 2010. There were 29,257 DWI incidents altogether in 2011, which is down 700 from 2010.

The report goes far beyond these couple facts. It breaks down crashes by age, location, vehicle type, time of day, month, and more. To view it, visits the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety website.