Minnesota sees highest number of traffic deaths since 2007

Preliminary numbers for traffic deaths in 2021 show the highest number in a single year since 2007. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety made the announcement on Tuesday. The the state had 497 traffic deaths in 2021. This is the highest amount the state has seen since 2007 when there were 510 traffic deaths.

“I’m saddened knowing how many families lost a loved one in a traffic crash in 2021,” Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director said in a press release. “With sadness, there is also anger. Anger that so many motorists are taking the privilege of driving for granted."

According to the DPS, speed was the largest contributing factor in fatal crashes in 2021.

"Some drivers are deliberately exceeding the speed limit, failing to put down the phone, refusing to buckle up and making the poor choice of driving impaired," Hanson added. "Until every motorist takes responsibility for their own actions, we’ll continue to see the carnage on our roads. Let’s make sure 2022 isn’t as heartbreaking for Minnesotans.”

In 2021, reported figures show:

  • 162 speed-related deaths were a 33 percent increase from 2020 and a 116 percent increase from 201
  • Speed was a factor in 33 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2021 compared with 26 percent over the five years of 2016-20.

In addition to deaths in speed-related crashes, preliminary information shows:

  • 124 alcohol-related deaths compared with 135 in 2020 and 114 in 2019.
  • 24 distracted-related deaths compared with 32 in 2020 and 34 in 2019.
  • 109 unbelted motorist deaths compared with 105 in 2020 and 73 in 2019.