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Minnesota Opinion: On road fatalities: Minnesota Opinion: On road fatalities

An excerpt from recent editorials in Minnesota newspapers:

The Associated Press

On road fatlities:

If you want to save lives, raise the price of gas.

We're not advocating that OPEC raise prices. Nor are we urging federal and state government to increase gasoline taxes. We're simply pointing out cause and effect.

Traffic deaths in Minnesota last year dipped to a 63-year low. The state Department of Transportation reports that 455 people died on Minnesota roads in 2008, down from 510 deaths in 2007.

If statistics move you, that's an 11 percent improvement. If you're a people person, that's 55 loved ones who made it home safely from sporting events, work, vacations and trips to the grocery store.

... The No. 1 reason in every case, safety experts say, is that people drove fewer miles because the price of gas was so high.

A gallon of gas costs roughly $2.25 now or a $1.60 less than it did a year ago, so where does that leave us?

Let's rephrase that. Where does that take us?

We need to take an alternate route to safer roads.

Every motorist can commit to driving less, obviously. The less time you spend on the road, the less likely you will be a traffic statistic.

Motorists also can control other factors that help prevent accidents, especially fatal ones: Wear a seat belt, don't drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, keep your car in good condition, obey traffic laws and slow down.

Finally, drivers can pay attention.

Highway officials say driver distraction contributed to one in four crashes last year.

When you're driving, just drive. Don't text, make phone calls or fiddle with the radio. Focus on the road, not that GPS your child gave you for Father's Day.

Next time you fill up the tank, ask yourself, "How much is cheap gas worth to me?"

A couple bucks? A couple lives?

Take a couple of minutes and commit to making our roads safer.

-- Red Wing Republican Eagle