ST. PAUL - Minnesota traffic deaths in 2013 have topped the 100-death milestone, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.
Officials are urging motorists to buckle up as a statewide Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign starts today, leading into the historically deadly summer driving season.
The 2013 preliminary count of 102 is slightly above the 96 deaths reported at this time in 2012.
At this rate, DPS projects around 400 deaths for 2013.
In 2012, the 100-death mark was reached near the end of May.
The final 2012 count will be announced in June.
"The key to stopping these preventable deaths begins with every motorist buckling up," says Donna Berger, DPS Office of Traffic Safety director. "A seat belt is your number-one defense against the spike of drunk, distracted and speeding drivers that we see in the summer."
Of the 102 2013, there have been 85 motorists killed and at least 30 were not belted.
Crash Victims Memorial Website Adds Perspective to the Numbers
The DPS MinnesotaCrashVictims.org memorial website provides a dramatic representation of the lives lost on state roads and "goes beyond the stats," according to state traffic safety officials.
DPS is reminding Minnesotans about the site to stress safe driving behaviors prior to the deadly summer driving season.
"Stats and numbers can't compare to the heartbreaking realities of crash victims," says Berger. "These stories connect people to the real life-and-death consequences of unsafe driving."
The site allows crash victims' families to present an intimate and meaningful remembrance of a loved one, while educating visitors of the site about traffic safety.
The site requires families to enter victim crash details, such as seat belt or helmet use, and 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.