Minnesota State Patrol Pleads with Drivers to Use Caution as Summer Travel Begins

As of May 27, 2021, 149 Traffic Fatalities Have Been Reported on Minnesota Roads

DULUTH, Minn. – Minnesota State Patrol is out with alarming new numbers as the Memorial Day weekend approached, just five months into the new year.

The Department of Public Safety says 149 lives have been lost on Minnesota roads in 2021.

That’s in comparison to 107 lives lost at this time in 2020.

Troopers are reporting a 96 percent rise in speed-related crashes so far, and an 85 percent increase in crashes related to drivers not wearing seat belts.

Memorial Day weekend kicks off the 100 most traveled days in Minnesota, and officials are urging drivers to do their part when it comes to helping save lives.

“If this pace keeps up we’re going to see fatal crash numbers that we haven’t seen in almost a decade, so for us, it’s about practicing good driving behaviors and getting to where we need to go safely is what we want people to do,” said Lt. Gordon Shank with the Minnesota State Patrol.

For troopers, the plea to practice safe driving habits comes with an emotional element.

They want to remind everyone who’s traveling this weekend to refuse to drive until every passenger is buckled up, slow down, and plan ahead before you go out by designating a sober driver.

“We don’t like telling families that their loved one’s not coming home. We don’t want you to end up being a memorial on Memorial Day weekend. Just make sure you’re practicing those behaviors so we don’t have to do these things. The worst part of this job is letting the family know they’ve lost a loved one and we can prevent this,” said Lt. Shank.

The Minnesota State Patrol reminds drivers or passengers to safely contact 911 if they witness erratic driving behaviors.

More than 37 million Americans are expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend.

Additional Statistics:

• During Memorial Day weekend 2020, eight people lost their lives in six fatal crashes.

• Law enforcement made 292 DWI arrests during Memorial Day weekend last year compared with 393 in 2019.

• On average, seven people lose their lives on Minnesota roads during Memorial Day weekend.

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