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Six traffic deaths in one day reported on state roads

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Minnesota traffic deaths in 2013 continue to climb following a wave of six traffic deaths within a time period of just over 24 hours, Friday through Saturday, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.

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To date, 122 people have lost their lives in traffic crashes this year, up from 110 at this time in 2012.

The string of fatal crashes started at 4:09 p.m. Friday and ended 5:42 p.m. Saturday. The deaths occurred in Benton, Carlton, Hennepin, Houston, Waseca and Wright counties.

"Sadly, it's not uncommon to see deadly periods like this in the summer," says Donna Berger, DPS Office of Traffic Safety director. "It's our role as motorists to make these crashes and resulting tragedies uncommon, by driving focused, driving at safe speeds and being buckled up."

The deadliest period of the year to-date was April 6-8, when 12 people were killed in crashes.

MOTORCYCLE DEATHS ON PACE WITH 2012

Among the six people killed over the weekend was a 63-year-old female, who was a passenger of a motorcyclist. To date, 11 rider deaths have been recorded, putting the state on pace with last year, when 55 riders were killed.

Public safety officials are reminding motorcyclists and motorists to drive carefully and share the road now that the riding season is in full swing.

This week, DPS is launching a safety and awareness campaign encouraging motorists to look twice for motorcyclists. The campaign features a TV spot, which dramatically illustrates the life-threatening consequences that can occur when drivers are unaware of motorcyclists.

The campaign also includes digital billboards using the iconic bumper sticker "Start Seeing Motorcyclists" -- developed by MMSC in 1985.

The ads will run in the metro, Duluth and Rochester. The "Look Twice" message will also be used behind home plate during June home Twins games.

DPS offers these life-saving safety tips for drivers and riders.

Motorists

• Share the road -- motorists should keep a safe distance from all vehicles, especially motorcyclists.

• Look Twice -- Watch for motorcycles, and always look twice before entering a roadway or changing lanes.

• Pay attention and drive at safe speeds. Due to the smaller size of motorcycles, their speed and distance is more difficult to judge.

Motorcyclists

• Wear the gear -- motorcyclists should wear brightly colored protective gear and a helmet for visibility and protection.

• Don't drink and ride -- one-third of all motorcycle fatalities involve impaired riders.

• Drive at safe speeds and stay focused on driving--speeding and inattention are the two most-cited contributing factors in motorcycle-only crashes.

• Get trained -- courses available for new and experienced riders across the state. View courses and register online at motorcyclesafety.org.

Preliminary reports indicate 55 rider deaths in 2012, up 33 percent from 2011.

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