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Traffic deaths up 7 percent from 2011

A mild winter, a slight increase in miles traveled and a spike in motorcyclist deaths in 2012 are a few of the reasons Minnesota had its first increase in traffic deaths since 2007. The 395 traffic deaths in 2012 is a 7 percent increase from 2011 (368) yet represents a 40 percent decrease in deaths from a decade ago.

Final 2012 crash data is reported in Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2012, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety annual summary of traffic crashes.

The 2012 deaths include 116 unbelted motorist deaths, 104 drunk driving crash victims and 55 motorcyclist deaths. The 2012 fatality count is the second lowest annual death figure (behind 2011) since 1944 when 356 were killed.

To date in 2013, there have been 134 road deaths compared to 125 deaths at this time in 2012.

"The big picture shows we've made great progress in the past decade, but the increase in deaths in 2012 is troubling, as is the climbing road death toll this year," said DPS Commissioner Mona Dohman. "These recent stats demonstrate the ongoing issues we face to improving Minnesota road safety, but they are all issues that can be prevented with smart and safe driver behavior."