Fatal crashes on the rise in Minnesota

Fatal crashes on the rise in Minnesota

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(ABC 6 News) – The winter months in Minnesota are generally when the state sees the most crashes, but many of them are minor and only involve one vehicle. But new numbers are alarming officials about safety on our roads.

“I find it kind of surprising with the type of weather we’ve had. We’ve has that many fatalities and that big of an increase,” said Jeffery Harrop.

As of Wednesday morning, there have been 49 fatal crashes on Minnesota roads, so far in 2024. That’s compared to 29 at this time a years ago.

But why the dramatic increase? Well, Sgt. Troy Christianson with the Minnesota State Patrol says, believe it or not, it’s the weather.

“What we’ve seen is kind of an abnormal winter where the roads are smooth, we don’t have any road or weather conditions. And so, what we are seeing is our speeds still increased [from where drivers] left off from last summer,” said Sgt. Christianson.

According to MSP, 12 of the 49 fatal crashes have been caused by speeding.

Christianson says, in a normal winter, there’s usually a higher number of crashes but many of them are minor because people are slowing down because of inclement weather.

“First of all, we want to educate people about the dangers of driving a speed that’s unsafe. And if you’re involved in a crash, you’re going to have less reaction time and, also, you’re going to do significantly more damage when you are driving a speed that is not safe,” said Christianson.

And other drivers are starting to take notice.

“Yeah, it seems like every body’s in pretty rapid hurry. So, you get run over if you’re doing the speed limit or slightly above,” said Harrop.

Because of the numbers, MSP says they are going to have a greater presence on the roads to make sure everyone is driving safe.

“The four main factors that we really need to focus as we finish out the winter months and go into spring is people driving the speed limit, buckle up, never drive while you’re impaired and never drive while you’re distracted,” said Christianson.

Christianson says they aren’t playing around. The state patrol is taking these numbers seriously and if they catch you for speeding you will be cited.