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The 2016 crash facts just became available. 2017 should be ready by the end of the year


 In 2016…

392 people died on Minnesota highways, 19 fewer lives lost than in 2015.  In 2014 there were 361 fatalities which was the lowest number since 1943. Unfortunately, Minnesota’s death and injury numbers are increasing.  29,825 were injured, about 2/3 of these injury crashes thankfully were minor injuries. There were 79,069 crashes.


  • Breakdown of Total Fatalities:*

252 died in motor vehicles, 60 were pedestrians, an increase, 54 motorcyclists, a decrease, 7 ATV a decrease, 7 riding bicycles, a decrease, 2 on farm equipment, 8 commercial deaths and 2 others.

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





On an Average Day in Minnesota

                      216 Crashes

            1.07 Died and 82 were injured

    Daily Cost to Society $5,120,825



  • Daytime Seatbelt use is estimated at 93.2%.   Women 97% and Men 90%

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 76% 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, (79%). The Central region was the best, (87.9%) followed by southeast region that had (87.4%). Township roads had the lowest use of seatbelt usage when death or injury occurs. Interstates the best.  Of the 261 vehicle occupant deaths, 18 people were either ejected or partially ejected from their vehicles. 74% of those ejected were not belted.


Airbag deployment was reported 20,658 times when seatbelt was used. 59% of these incidents resulted in no apparent injury. The airbag was deployed 645 times when a seatbelt was not connected and only 31% of the times was there no injuries.


The most dangerous month this year was October with 39 deaths and 1,922 injuries.

The most dangerous holiday period was July 4 holiday period with 6 deaths and 268 injuries


  • 63% 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 34% of the fatal crashes, but 63% of all crashes.


  • Fatal crashes occurred most often in the afternoon between 2 and 6pm. and in the morning between 5-7 am.  This has changed from the early 90’s when it was most common between 10pm and 2am. All crashes  7am to 7pm.


  • Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death to young people. 111 people (28%) under age 30 died in crashes.  Ages 0-19, 35 died and 76 died ages 20 – 29. People aged 15-24 are 14.2% of licensed drivers yet they account for 24.2% of crash involved drivers. Drivers aged 20-24 represent 8% of licensed drivers but 13.6% of all crash involved drivers


  • Motorcycle deaths and injuries decreased from 2015 from 61 deaths to 54. The most were in the 60 and older age bracket. 64.8% of those killed were known to NOT be wearing their helmet.  The most dangerous time for motorcyclists is between 2 –6 pm.  21% of tested motorcyclists involved in crashes were over .08BAC.  There has been a continuing increase in motorcycle registration. There were 1,260 crashes involving motorcycles, a 13% increase. June was the most dangerous month.


Main contributing factors of crashes involving a single motorcycle were speed, driver inexperience, distraction, and chemical impairment.  Motorcycle and vehicle crashes attributed to the motor vehicle driver are usually caused by - failure to yield, and driver inattention & distraction.  Following too closely and driver inattention was most sighted for the cause by the motorcyclist.


  • Pedestrian involved crash incidence increased greatly in 2016 from 911 to 1072 an 18% increase. Deaths increased from 17 in 2014 to 60 in 2016.  Most deaths happen in larger cities. October again was the most dangerous month. 40% of tested pedestrians killed were over .10BAC.  Ages 20 to 24 had the most deaths and injuries.  Most drivers were driving straight ahead on the roadway when they hit the pedestrian. Main contributing factors of the driver for the crash was failure to yield and distracted driving and for the pedestrian was darting/dashing into the roadway. Of the 20 pedestrian fatalities with a positive test for alcohol, 18 pedestrians were over .10g/dl .


  • Bicycle Crashes decreased from 898 to 798. The most dangerous time is from 3:00 – 6:00 pm., most of these were in big cities and most were under 25 years.  August 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 2016 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 and for some reason on Tuesdays.

2% of those arrested for DWI were seniors, 23% of those killed were seniors and 9% of those killed were involved in alcohol related crashes.

*Any crash where a senior driver is involved


  • Hit and Run crashes:  7320 crashes were classified as hit and run. Of those crashes,      13 resulted in fatalities, and 938 injuries.

Collision with moving motor vehicle   0 fatalities - 791 injuries

Collision with parked vehicle – 0 fatalities – 37 injuries

Collision with bicycle – 1 fatality and 77 injuries

Collision with pedestrian -- 11 fatalities and 150 injuries

Fixed objects – 0 fatalities – 40 injuries

Other   --   0 fatality and 64 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

 63% of fatalities occurred in rural areas (under 5000 population)

7,320 crashes were hit and run



The population of Minnesota is about 5.45 million

Over 5 million motor vehicles are registered

There are over 4 million licensed drivers

Over 58 billion miles were driven

There were 79,069 traffic crashes,

178,922 people were involved in these crashes

146,339 motor vehicles were involved in crashes

Total economic loss $1.87 million


Statistics taken from 2016 Crash Facts Minnesota Department of Public Safety        


2011-2015 Minnesota Crash Statistics by County  (newest)





 *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

A drunk driving related crash means that one of the drivers was tested to be .08BAC or above.


  • 121 people died in crashes classified as “alcohol- related*” That is 31% of the total fatalities, a decrease. 73 of those deaths the driver was over .08BAC.. There were 4,240 alcohol-related crashes and 2,281 people injured.  This is an increase in crashes and injuries from 2015.
  • Most of the alcohol-related fatal crashes involved a single vehicle either colliding with a fixed object or losing control and overturning.
  • October was the most dangerous month. The most dangerous time for an alcohol-related crash is 8 pm – 2am and especially early Saturday morning. 58% of alcohol-related crashes happen on the weekend
  • Of the 209 drivers killed and tested for alcohol after a fatal crash, 139 tested .00 BAC, 12 tested .01 - .07BAC, 2 between .08 & .09, and 56 tested .10 or above. 95 (28%) of the total number of fatalities were in drunk driving related crashes.


There is a strong relationship between alcohol and the severity of a crash

In 2016 alcohol was involved in 9% or minor injury crashes, 11% of moderate injuries,

 21% of serious injury crashes and 31% of fatalities.



As noted by police officer on crash report Officer could enter up to 2 physical conditions

               Physical Condition                     In Fatal  Crash                            In Injury Crash

          Normal                                                      340                                             34,884

          Had been Drinking                                    47                                                1,368

          Had Taken Illicit Drugs                             12                                                    231

          Had taken Medications                             4                                                    146

          Emotional                                                    2                                                    179

          Fatigued/asleep                                        14                                                    589

          Physical Disability                                       2                                                      72

          Medical Issue                                              8                                                     455

          Other                                                            7                                                     309

          Unknown                                                 698                                               38,929


  • In the 1960’s around 60% of all traffic deaths were alcohol related, now it is 31%.  That most likely is due to many changes in behavior, laws, safer roads and vehicles and seat belts.
  • County State Aid Highways (rural roads) had the most alcohol related crashes and deaths.


The DWI arrest information is not available for 2016 at this time. What is stated below is from 2015


  • There were 25,027 impaired incidents (DWI arrests).


  • .  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.


The average blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for drivers with a DWI was .16, with the average BAC for a drunk driver involved in a fatal crash being  .19


  • 1 in 7 Minnesota licensed drivers has a DWI on their record.  11.4% of Minnesota residents have a DWI.  1 in 16 has two or more DWI’s on their record, 1 in 34 have three or more. 1,324 have ten or more; one person has 26 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% I 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 31%.  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. 
  • Counties Vary: As noted, 11.4% of the state’s population has an incident on their driving record. The five counties with the highest percentages are Mahnomen (24%), Mille Lacs (17.4%), Cass (16.5%), Clearwater (16.2%) and Aitkin (16.2%).  These counties are north and west of the Twin Cities. The counties with the lowest percentages are Stevens (8.1%), Rock (8.4%), Carver (9.6%), Lincoln (9.4%), Washington (9.5%), and Olmstead (9.6%). These counties are mostly in the lower half of the state.  Reasons for the variations might include: prevalence of chemical dependency problems in the population, strictness of enforcement, and whether the county is a vacation or recreational area of the state.


Compiled from Minnesota Crash Facts 2016, Minnesota Department of Public Safety. For more information go to their website at


2015  Minnesota  Impaired Driving Facts



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 51.


County specific fact sheets     page 38

Traffic Deaths and Injury Map for 2014