A recent study showed that the number of traffic deaths related to impaired driving in Minnesota had gone down. However, the total number of traffic deaths in Minnesota has now surpassed 200 in 2014, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
The tally for the year is 204 deaths after two motorcyclists were recently killed in an accident. However, the number is still below the 220 deaths that were recorded at the same time in 2013.
The most recent fatality was a woman who crashed her motorcycle near a bridge in Rochester, MN. The state patrol said that the 58-year-old woman had lost consciousness while riding her motorcycle and crashed in the area of Highway 52 and 55th St. NW.
The woman was wearing a helmet and there was not any evidence that she had consumed any alcohol. An autopsy is being performed in order to pinpoint what caused the woman to lose consciousness, which ultimately led to her death.
Another motorcyclist was killed in Wright County just less than a week prior when the motorcycle that he was driving collided with a vehicle that was driven by a 17-year-old girl.
Of the 204 traffic deaths that have occurred so far this year, 31 of them are motorcycle fatalities. Last year at the same time, there were 44 motorcycle fatalities that had occurred in the state, according to the Department of Public Safety.
It has been found that the most common factors in these crashes are distracted driving and speeding. However, the main cause still stands to be drunk driving. Impaired driving is responsible for one out of five traffic fatalities that occur, according to statistics by the Department of Public Safety.
Law enforcement agencies throughout Minnesota participate in enhanced enforcement campaigns during holidays in order to crack down on drunk driving. The most recent one extended through Labor Day, as many individuals like to have alcohol when they attend Labor Day cookouts and parties in the days leading up to the national holiday.
On August 18, the Department of Public Safety tweeted a YouTube video on Twitter showing an impaired driving traffic stop and reminded individuals that extra DWI enforcement would be on Minnesota roads. It is believed that the enhanced enforcement discourages individuals from drinking and driving, thus reduces the number of accidents.
While 200 traffic fatalities is a high number, it is better than in 2012 and may show that the total number of fatal accidents is coinciding with the reduction in impaired driving incidents, marking a steady decline over the past few years if 2014 has fewer fatalities than 2013 when the final numbers are tallied at the beginning of 2015.
It should be noted that when an individual is killed in an accident due to someone else being negligent, the family may file a wrongful death lawsuit in order to recover money for funeral expenses and medical costs that they may have incurred because of the accident.