In 2012…
395 people died on Minnesota highways a 7.3% increase from 2011.
29,314 were injured and this is a 1% decrease from 2011

Breakdown of Total Fatalities: :
289 died in motor vehicles, 40 were pedestrians, 53 motorcyclists, 9 ATV*, 1 snowmobile*, 2 commercial bus 
occupants, 7 riding bicycles, 2 on farm equipment and 3 unknown.

  • Contributing factors in SINGLE vehicle crashes
  • Illegal or unsafe speed 21.6%
  • Driver inattention 14.1%,
  • Chemical impairment 8.8%
  • Overcorrecting 7.8%
  • Contributing factors in MULTIPLE vehicle crashes
  • Driver inattention 24.1%,
  • Failure to yield 19.5%,
  • Following too closely 13.2%
  • Speed 6.3%

On an Average Day in Minnesota
198 Crashes
1 death and 83 injuries
Daily Cost to Society, $4,135,626

Daytime Seatbelt use is estimated at 94%. parts of Minnesota
In June of 1986 only 20% of drivers used a seatbelt.  The northwest (67%) and southwest (76%) 
parts of Minnesota had the lowest seatbelt use; the metro area had the best. 
Of the 271 vehicle occupant deaths, 25% of these were either ejected or partially ejected from their vehicles. 
95% of those ejected were not belted.

The most dangerous month this year was September with 48 deaths and 2582 injuries.
The most dangerous holiday period was New Year’s Eve with 7 deaths and 240 injuries

Severe injuries are on the decrease mainly because of seat belt use. But 44% (10% not known) of those killed were not wearing their seatbelts. 
This rate is much higher than the 7% non-use by all drivers throughout the state.

  • 66% of all fatal crashes occurred in rural areas (less than 5000 population). Injury and property  crashes occur more often in urban areas. The 7 county metro area had 28% of the fatal crashes, but  61% of all crashes.
  • In 2012, fatal crashes occurred most often in the afternoon between 3 and 6pm. and in the morning between 6-9 am. This has changed from the early 90’s when it was most common between 10pm and 2am.
  • Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death to young people. 110 people (28%) under age 25 died in crashes.  14 died under age 15; 47 died age 15 – 19 and 49 died ages 
    20 – 24 People aged 15-24 are 14.7% of licensed drivers yet they account for 24.3% of crash involved drivers.
  • Motorcycle deaths were the greatest in the 40 and older age bracket this accounted for 57% of all motorcycle deaths.  
    80% of those killed were known to NOT be wearing their helmet.  The most dangerous time for motorcyclists is between 3 –5 pm. Most crashes occur in areas under 1000 people. 27% of tested motorcyclists involved in crashes were over .
    08BAC. There has been a continuing increase in motorcycle registration. 
    There were 1563 crashes involving motorcycles; that is a 19% increase. July & August were the most 
    dangerous months.

    Main contributing factors of crashes involving a single motorcycle were speed, driver inexperience, distraction and chemical impairment.  Multi vehicle crashes attributed to the other vehicle are usually caused by - 
    failure to yield and driver inattention & distraction. 37% of all crashes are alcohol related

    Pedestrian involved crash incidence increased in 2012 from 857 to 879. Deaths stayed the same but injuries increased.  Most deaths happen in big cities during the two rush hours. December was the most dangerous month. 27% of pedestrians killed were over .10BAC. Ages 20 to 24 had the most deaths 
    and injuries.  Most of those killed were crossing a street without a crosswalk.

    Bicycle Crashes decreased from 963 (2011) to 920. The most dangerous time is from 3:00 – 6:00 pm in big cities.  July was the worse month. Failure to yield the right of way was cited most often for both the 
    bicyclists and other motor vehicle drivers. 
    Driver inattention or distraction was the second contributing factor cited most often for the other drivers. 7 bicyclists, 
    all male, were killed and 875 were injured. Injuries decreased but fatalities increased. More bicycle crash facts are at this website http://www.sharetheroadmn.org/crash.html

  • For older drivers:  People over 65 are safe drivers as a general rule, but are more likely to be killed if they are involved in a traffic crash. 
    Senior citizen drivers were involved in only 8% of all traffic crashes in 2012 but accounted for 21% of traffic fatalities.
    For older drivers involved in crashes, failure to yield,  driver inattention or distracted was the most cited for cause of crash.
  • Most crashes happen on clear days and during daylight hours


The population of Minnesota approached 5.32 million
Over 5 million motor vehicles are registered
There are over 4 million licensed drivers
57 billion miles were driven
There were 69,236 traffic crashes,
168,674 people were involved in these crashes
Total economic loss $1,513,639,100


Statistics taken from 2012 Crash Facts Minnesota Department of Public Safety


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  • 133 people died in crashes classified as “alcohol- related*” That is 33% of the total fatalities. There were 3,837 alcohol-related crashes and 2,644 people injured.  This is a decrease in deaths but an increase in crashes and injuries.
  • Most of the alcohol-related fatal crashes(71%) involved a single vehicle colliding with a fixed object,losing control and overturning or hitting a non-vehicle or person.
  • August was the most dangerous month. The most dangerous time for an alcohol-related crash is midnight – 3am and especially early Saturday morning. 60% of alcohol-related crashes happen on the weekend
  • Of the 206 drivers tested for alcohol after a fatal crash, 130 tested .00 BAC, 5 tested .01 - .07BAC, 2 between .08 & .09, and 69 tested .10 or above.

There is a strong relationship between alcohol and the severity of a crash
Alcohol is involved in 7% or minor injury crashes, 13% of moderate injuries,
23% of severe injury crashes and 33% of fatalities.

  • There were 28,418 impaired incidents (DWI arrests). This is a 3% decrease from last year.  Most notable reason is less law enforcement on the road. 
    Of those incidents, 59% were age 20 – 34, 6% under 20, 27% age 35 – 49, 14% were 50 and older. That is 78 DWI arrests per day.
  • 1 in 7 Minnesota drivers has a DWI on their record.   1 in 17 has two or more DWI’s on their record 41% of those who occur one violation will occur a second within 15 years of first arrest. 49% of DWI arrests were 
    first time offenders.

82% of those who died in an alcohol related crash were themselves
the person whose drinking behavior caused the crash

  • Of the arrests, males were 67.8% of the number and females were 24.9%. In 1996, females made up 18% of DWI arrests. 
    One half of the state’s DWI’s arrests were made in the 7 county metro area.11% of the DWI arrests were for those illegal 
    to drink
  • National Safety Council reports that the cost of alcohol-related  crashes in Minnesota amounts to 239 million dollars
  • In the 1960’s around 60% of all traffic deaths were alcohol related, now it is 35%. That most likely is due to many changes in behavior, laws, safer roads and vehicles.
  • County State Aid Highways (rural roads) had the most alcohol related crashes and deaths.

*a crash is classified as “alcohol-related” if any driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist is shown by a chemical test to be positive for alcohol. Then any people killed or injured in that crash are classified as alcohol-related. The test does not need to be over .08 BAC. to be alcohol- related

Complied from Minnesota Crash Facts 2012, Minnesota Department of Public Safety. For more information go to their website at


Have you ever wondered when DWI laws were enacted, what was the laws in 1925 or 1985? Go to this website and scroll down to page 45.