Driver safety improves, crash deaths continue to declineby Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — More Minnesota drivers are wearing seat belts and not drinking and driving.
New numbers from the Department of Public Safety show 368 people died in vehicle crashes in 2011. That's the fourth consecutive annual decline in road fatalities. The most common factors leading to crashes in 2011 were driver distraction; failure to yield and illegal or unsafe speed.
Officials say seat belt compliance is at a record high and alcohol-impaired crashes and DWI arrests have fallen. But Minnesota drivers still need to follow simple safety rules, said Donna Berger, director of traffic safety with the state Department of Public Safety.
"If everyone would just always buckle up, drive at safe speeds, allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination, put those distractions away and pay attention to the task of driving itself, [and] of course, never ever drive impaired," Berger said.
"Many people are making safe decisions, buckling up, not driving distracted and not drinking and driving. However, there is still a lot of work to do because I truly believe that over one death average per day is way too many and it's not acceptable.