Like any other state, Minnesota experiences its share of car accidents every year. However, traffic safety saw some great progress in 2010, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. In their report, “Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts,” they sum up the year’s crashes using dimensions such as age of the driver, vehicle type, injury severity, and time of day. The numbers have changed drastically throughout the years.

In 2010, there were 411 traffic deaths in Minnesota. That may sound like a lot, but it’s actually the lowest number since 1944. Traffic deaths in Minnesota peaked in 1968 at 1,060, and have been in a general decline since then. Even though we now have distractions like cell phones when driving, people are more educated about driver safety, such as seat belt wearing, and there are stricter laws and better enforcement.

As a driver in Minnesota, you may be surprised to learn about when most fatal car accidents happen. We all know that our state can experience some harsh, snowy winters. Snow and ice make roads slippery. Therefore, a lot of car accidents happen in the winter, and 2010 was no exception, with December seeing the highest number of reported crashes. However, the most traffic deaths typically do not occur in the winter months. People tend to drive much faster when the weather is great and roads are clear. In fact, the most traffic deaths in Minnesota occurred in May and October. They also mainly occur in rural areas, where people drive at high speeds, and there are less safety designs on rural roads than on interstates.

Weather is definitely not the only factor affecting crashes. Even though there are strict drinking and driving laws, in 2010, 32% of traffic deaths were alcohol related, as well as 24% of severe injuries. Therefore, 131 people died and 2,485 people were injured in crashes where alcohol was a known factor. This sounds like a lot, but the number of alcohol-related incidences actually decreased by 9% from 2009. In fact, these incidents have been on a steady decrease throughout the past 50 years. In the 1960s, about 60% of all traffic deaths per year were alcohol related. That is a very large number! With stricter laws and more education, Minnesota and the nation as a whole have made great strides against drunk driving.

Interested in the numbers for 2011? Read our summary of Crash Facts 2011.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s report is full of many interesting statistics about car accidents in Minnesota. For the full report, visit the Office of Traffic Safety website.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact Meshbesher & Spence for a consultation with our personal injury attorneys. Our attorneys are available to visit you in the hospital, in your home, or in our offices, and they will help you determine if you will be able to recover damages for your injuries.