Minnesota just had deadliest 3-month stretch on roads in decade

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is warning of an "ongoing traffic safety crisis" after preliminary summer travel reports show June through August 2021 was the deadliest three-month stretch on the roads in a decade.

Friday, DPS provided its annual overview of the state's 100 most-traveled days of the year, which span from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The summer of 2020 marked the deadliest summer since 2010 with 158 deaths, but data shows 2021 topped those numbers with 167 deaths.

So far this year, there have been 321 total fatalities on Minnesota roads, compared to 256 deaths this time last year--a 25% increase. Office of Traffic Safety Director Mike Hanson says the troubling trend started amid the pandemic.

"Those choices are continuing to plague our roads a year and a half later," Hanson said in a statement. "Speeding is contributing to so much tragedy, and the summer was no exception. Talk to your family and friends about safe driving choices."

There will be extra enforcement on the roads for seat belt use from Sept. 19 through Sept. 30. In 2020, 105 unbelted motorists died in crashes, which was the highest amount since 2014.