Minnesota annual traffic deaths drop for fourth consecutive year

Are efforts to improve Minnesota's traffic safety, such as primary seat belt laws, texting bans and similar measures having a positive effect? Well, while simple correlation does not indicate causation, an impressive trend is developing. I just received the following notice:

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety has released its annual summary of traffic crashes, Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2011. According to the report, a total of 368 people died on Minnesota roads in 2011 and 1,159 were seriously injured. This represents a fourth consecutive annual drop in road fatalities and the lowest death count on record since 1944, when 356 were killed.

DPS traffic safety officials say smarter, safer driving is a critical factor for the continuing decline in road deaths. Seat belt compliance is at a record high, and alcohol-impaired crashes have dropped in recent years. DWI arrests have also fallen, indicating that more drivers are thinking twice about drinking and driving. Important legislation has also factored, including the ban on texting and the primary seat belt law.

More detail can be found in the Department of Public Safety's News Release

And those who want to really look into the data can go to the Crash Facts Report

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs