Minnesota, Iowa reflect on 100 Deadliest Days of Summer campaign

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(ABC 6 News) – Labor Day, Monday is the final day of the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer, a time between Memorial Day and Labor Day where state patrol troopers see more people on roads, and an increase in high-speed crashes.

Sergeant Troy Christianson with the Minnesota State Patrol said there is specifically an increase in motorcycle crashes this year because of deer and higher speeds. Last year at this time, there were 313 fatal crashes. As of Friday, the state is just over 270 fatal crashes.

“Impairment is becoming a bigger factor in fatal crashes,” said Sgt. Christianson. “But, it’s not alcohol-related-impairment. We’re seeing more drug impairment. So we’re seeing more people on chemicals. Marijuana is becoming more popular. Impairment is impairment. It doesn’t matter if it’s a controlled substance or alcohol. If you’re impaired, you can’t be behind the wheel. It’s all treated the same and you will be arrested for driving while impaired.”

In Iowa, Sergeant Alex Dinkla said there are more fatalities than this time last year. Speeding and distracted driving are major factors in those deaths, as is driving while impaired. He said the most important thing you can do to prevent a fatal crash, is to wear your seatbelt.

“That is the single most thing that you can do that’s going to keep you safe in that car and keep your passengers safe,” said Sgt. Dinkla.

“So far this year, around 46% of the people who have passed away so far, or killed in crashes this year did not have that seatbelt on. If they had the seatbelt on, there’s a greater chance they would have not been killed or injured at all in a car crash.”

Dinkla said it’s not one particular age group seeing these fatal crashes. They can happen to anyone.

As of Friday, Iowa reported 220 fatal crashes to date.