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State releases traffic fatality report, 368 killed in 2011 on MN roads

ST. PAUL -- The 368 traffic deaths on Minnesota roads in 2011 represents a fourth consecutive annual drop in road fatalities and the lowest death count on record since 1944 when 356 people were killed. The deaths include 120 unbelted motorists and 111 alcohol-impaired crash victims.

The statistics were released today by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety. The statistics include seven deaths in Meeker County, six in Kandiyohi County, three in Chippewa County, two in Renville County and one each in Pope and Yellow Medicine counties.

The report shows that the 2011 fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled is less than one person, at 0.65, which is the state's record low. The U.S. fatality rate is 1.09. In 2009 the most recent national data showed that Minnesota was third behind Massachusetts and Connecticut for the lowest fatality rate in the country.

The 368 deaths also marks a 44 percent decrease from 10 years ago. A total of 657 people died on the state's roadways in 2002.

So far in 2012, there has been 120 road deaths compared to 115 deaths at this time in 2011.

"Minnesota motorists have done a lot to improve road safety by practicing safe driving behaviors, but there are still far too many families and communities that have been torn apart by these preventable tragedies," DPS Commissioner Mona Dohman said in a news release. "We remember the lives that were lost on our roads as we continue our drive toward the goal of zero deaths."