Created: 03/11/2014 4:48 PM KAALtv.com
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The Department of Public Safety says at lest 12 people have been killed on Minnesota roads since February 28th.
That brings the total number of traffic deaths this year to 51. That's two more than at this time last year.
As we've reported, the recent fatalities include three Carlton College students who died in a crash near Northfield on Feb. 28 and four young men whose car lost control near Sleepy Eye on March 7. All seven were under 21 years old.
“Our roads can turn deadly in good weather and bad,” said Donna Berger, DPS Office of Public Safety (OTS) director. “The people who lost their lives in these crashes are the reasons we all need to take driving seriously and always make safe decisions about buckling up, driving at safe speeds, paying attention and never driving impaired."
Berger also points out that drivers aren’t the only victims in many crashes. In addition to the Sleepy Eye crash, an early morning Jan. 5 Winona crash into the Mississippi River killed four people. He says passengers need to make smart choices by always buckling up, never getting in the car with an impaired driver and speaking up if the driver isn't driving safely.
In 2012, 71 percent of deadly crashes in Minnesota involved young men. The most cited factors in these crashes were driver inattention/distraction, failure to yield right of way and illegal/unsafe speed.
Statistics also show, in 2012, 66 percent of all deadly crashes happened in rural areas.