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 In 2015…

411 people died on Minnesota highways, the same number as 2010. Last year there were 361 fatalities which was the lowest number since 1943. Unfortunately Minnesota’s numbers are going up for death and injury, but crashes are down. 29,981 were injured, about 2/3 of these injury crashes thankfully were minor injuries.

  • Breakdown of Total Fatalities:*

285 died in motor vehicles, 41 were pedestrians, 61 motorcyclists, 10 ATV, 0 snowmobile, 10 riding bicycles, 2 on farm equipment, others 2. The fatality rate in Minnesota is lower than the nation’s rate based on 100 million miles traveled.

*All crash numbers only include crashes on roads and highways. It does not include crashes on private property including snowmobile or ATV trails or boats on rivers or lakes

  •  Contributing factors in SINGLE vehicle crashes *
  1.  Illegal or unsafe speed 21.8%
  2.  Driver inattention 14%,
  3. Chemical impairment 8.7%
  4. Overcorrecting 8.6%

1/3 of crashes involved a vehicle hitting something besides another vehicle

  • Contributing factors in MULTIPLE vehicle crashes *
  1. Driver inattention 22.7%,
  2. Failure to yield 19.8%,
  3. Following too closely 14.2%
  4. Speed 6%

*Based on factors listed on police reports

On an Average Day in Minnesota 
205 Crashes
1.13 Death and 82 Injuries
Daily Cost to Society $493,150


  • Daytime Seatbelt use is estimated at 94%. Women 97% and Men 92% 
    In June of 1986 only 20% of drivers used a seatbelt.  In the northwest region of Minnesota among occupants that were killed or injured only 72% were wearing a seatbelt. But that percentage has risen from 2013 year which was at 67%.  That is the lowest use region in the state. Southwest region is second lowest, (77.4%). The Central region was the best, (84.9%). Township roads had the lowest use of seatbelt usage when death or injury occurs. Interstates the best.  Of the 285 vehicle occupant deaths, 25% of these were either ejected or partially ejected from their vehicles. 77% of those ejected were not belted.

The most dangerous month this year was June with 46 deaths and 2,708 injuries.
The most dangerous holiday period was Labor Day weekend with 6 deaths and 286 injuries


  • 70% 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 26% of the fatal crashes, but 63% of all crashes.
  • Fatal crashes occurred most often in the afternoon between 3 and 7pm. and in the morning between 5-9 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. 113 people (27%) under age 30 died in crashes.  Ages 0-19, 39 died, and 74 died ages 20 – 29. People aged 15-24 are 14.2% of licensed drivers yet they account for 23.4% of crash involved drivers. Drivers aged 20-24 represent 8% of licensed drivers but 13.4% of all crash involved drivers
  • Motorcycle deaths and injuries increased greatly from 2014 from 46 deaths to 61. The most in the 40 and older age bracket; they accounted for 69% of all motorcycle crashes. 78% of those killed were known to NOT be wearing their helmet.  The most dangerous time for motorcyclists is between 1 –5 pm.  28% of tested motorcyclists involved in crashes were over .08BAC.  There has been a continuing increase in motorcycle registration. There were 1,352 crashes involving motorcycles, a 13% increase. June was the most dangerous month.

    Main contributing factors of crashes involving a single motorcycle were speed (19%), driver inexperience (11%), distraction (11%) and chemical impairment.  Motorcycle and vehicle crashes attributed to the motor vehicle driver are usually caused by - failure to yield (40%) and driver inattention & distraction (17%).  Following too closely and driver inattention was most sighted for the cause by the motorcyclist. 47% of all crashes are alcohol related

  • Pedestrian involved crash incidence also increased greatly  in 2015 from 818 to 911. Deaths increased from 17 to 41.  Most deaths happen in larger cities during the two rush hours. October again was the most dangerous month. 33% of pedestrians killed were over .10BAC.  Ages 20 to 24 had the most deaths and injuries.  26% of those killed were crossing a street without a crosswalk or signal. Most drivers were driving straight ahead on the roadway when they hit the pedestrian. Main contributing factors for the crash was failure to yield and distracted driving.

    Of the 10 pedestrian fatalities with a positive test for alcohol, all 10 pedestrians were over .10g/dl  only one involved an impaired driver over the limit.

  • Bicycle Crashes increased from 776 to 898. The most dangerous time is from 3:00 – 6:00 pm and most of these were in big cities.  June was the worse month. Failure to yield the right of way was cited most often for both the bicyclists and other motor vehicle drivers. For bicyclists a disregard for traffic control device and non- motorist error was noted. Driver inattention or distraction was the second contributing factor cited most often for the other drivers. These statistics are only for bicycle crashes with motor vehicles.

    More bicycle crash facts are at this website


  • For senior 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 drivers were involved in 15% of all traffic crashes in 2015 but accounted for 24% of traffic fatalities. This percent is increasing as more seniors are on the roads. For older drivers involved in crashes, failure to yield, driver inattention or distracted was the most cited for cause of crash. Most all senior involved crashes happen between noon and 5pm. Most dangerous month for senior crashes was June.

    *Any crash where a senior driver is involved

  • Hit and Run crashes:  7425 crashes were classified as hit and run. Of those crashes,        
    12 resulted in fatalities, and 1722 injuries.

Collision with moving motor vehicle   2 fatalities - 1126 injuries
Collision with parked vehicle – 0 fatalities - 101 injuries
Collision with bicycle – 0 fatalities and 113 injuries
Collision with pedestrian -- 10 fatalities and 165 injuries
Other   --   0 fatality and 24 injuries

      Most crashes happen on clear days and during daylight hours
1/3 of all crashes involve just one vehicle
1/5 of all fatalities were less than 25 years old
 3 of 4 fatalities occurred in rural areas (under 5000 population)
7,425 crashes were hit and run

The population of Minnesota increased to 5.45 million
Over 5 million motor vehicles are registered
There are over 4 million licensed drivers
Over 59 billion miles were driven
There were 74,772 traffic crashes,
181,663 people were involved in these crashes
138,057 motor vehicles were involved in crashes
Total economic loss $1.8 million

Statistics taken from 2015 Crash Facts Minnesota Department of Public Safety       

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*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


  • 137 people died in crashes classified as “alcohol- related*” 107 of those deaths the driver was over .08bac. That is 33% of the total fatalities. There were 3,634 alcohol-related crashes and 2,203 people injured.  This is a increase in deaths and injuries from 2014.
  • Most of the alcohol-related fatal crashes  involved a single vehicle colliding with a fixed object (25%), losing control and overturning, (25%) or hitting a non-vehicle or person (18%).
  • June was the most dangerous month. The most dangerous time for an alcohol-related crash is 9 pm – 3am and especially early Saturday morning. 55% of alcohol-related crashes happen on the weekend
  • Of the 239 drivers killed and tested for alcohol after any fatal crash, 139 tested .00 BAC, 22 tested .01 - .07BAC, 6 between .08 & .09, and 72 tested .10 or above.

There is a strong relationship between alcohol and the severity of a crash
Alcohol is involved in 6% or minor injury crashes, 11% of moderate injuries,
19% of severe injury crashes and 33% of fatalities.

  • There were 25,027 impaired incidents (DWI arrests). This is a slight increase from last year.  85% of the incidents involved taking a test for alcohol or drugs, 15% involved a test refusal. Of those incidents, 51% were age 21 – 34, 5% under 21, 27% age 35 – 49, 16% were 50 and older. That is 68 DWI arrests per day.

    40% of those arrested already have a DWI on their record. About half of those who are arrested for the second time will be arrested again. When do these arrests occur? Thurs. after midnight & Friday accounted for 15%, Friday after midnight &Saturdays 26%, Saturday night after midnight & Sunday 24% and the rest during the week.

  • 1 in 7 Minnesota licensed drivers has a DWI on their record.  11.1% of Minnesota residents have a DWI.  1 in 17 has two or more DWI’s on their record. 1,324 have ten or more; one person has 25 on 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. Average alcohol level among first-time offenders was 0.157% in 1998 and 0.148% in 2014. Second or subsequent violators averaged 0.173% in 1998 and 0.165% in 2014. Twin Cities Metro and non-metro have about the same number of arrests.

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 65.6% of the number and females were 25.4% and 8.9% not stated. 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.  5% of the DWI arrests were for those illegal to drink.  The arrests rate for those age 50+ is increasing.
  • In the 1960’s around 60% of all traffic deaths were alcohol related, now it is 33%.  That most likely is due to many changes in behavior, laws, safer roads and vehicles and seat belts.
  • Arrests in 2015 are down by 16,980 from the high in 2006, but the alcohol related deaths have decreased by 17% comparing 2015 to 2006. Hopefully that means more sober drivers.
  • County State Aid Highways (rural roads) had the most alcohol related crashes and deaths. 

    Compiled from Minnesota Crash Facts 2015, Minnesota Department of Public Safety. For more information go to their website at
    2014 Minnesota  Impaired Driving Facts (2015 not available)

    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 49.