Minnesota Crash Facts


*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


In 2020…

394 people died on Minnesota highways, an increase of 8% from 2019.   20,529 were injured, most not seriously, a decrease from last year. There were 369  fatal crashes; 1,310 people had severe/serious injuries. 117,377 people were involved in crashes; 101,914 motor vehicles were involved in crashes.  491 crashes involved at least 1 bicyclist, 794 crashes involved at least one pedestrian, one in four fatalities were less than 25 years of age, 7,307 crashes were classified as “hit and run.” The economic loss to Minnesota from these crashes was $1.6 billion.

In 1968 in Minnesota, there were 1,060 traffic fatalities which was 5.3 per hundred million miles driven. In 2020 there were 394 fatalities which is .76 per hundred million miles driven, one of the safest rates in the country. Many factors made our roadway travel safer. Primary seatbelts, drunk driving laws, better designed highways, better EMT response, and safer car design.


  • Breakdown of Total Fatalities:

244 died in motor vehicles, 45 were pedestrians, 64 motorcyclists, 13 on an ATV, 10 riding bicycles, 2 snowmobile, 9 trucks, 2 moped and 5 unknowns.


According to crash reports, the majority of crashes occur in good   driving conditions daylight hours, clear weather, & good roads 

The top four contributing factors in 2020 traffic fatalities continue to be:

Drunk driving- 79 deaths – Speed -122 deaths

Unbuckled motorists – 105 deaths — Distraction–32 deaths

The most common contributing factor in single vehicle crashes is

 Careless/negligent/erratic driving


  • Daytime Seatbelt use is estimated at 93.4%.  Women 95% and men at 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 69.3% were wearing a seatbelt.  That is the lowest use region in the state. The Metro area region is second lowest, (77%). The Central region was the best, (85.3%). All areas had a decrease in usage in those involved in crashes. Township roads had the lowest seatbelt usage when death or injury occurs. Interstates had the most usage.  Of the 256 vehicle occupant deaths, 73 people were either ejected or partially ejected from their vehicles, a definite increase. Most of those ejected were not belted.

         The most dangerous month this year was January for all crashes and July for fatality crashes. The most dangerous holiday period was Christmas.

  • 63% of all fatal crashes occurred in rural areas (less than 5000 population). Most injury and property crashes occur more often in urban areas.  Friday afternoon was the most dangerous day of the week and wintertime the season for crashes. 37% of crashes involved only one vehicle. Fatal crashes are different. 40% of fatalities occurred during the 100 deadly days of 2020, July – September.
  • Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death to young people. 122 people under age 30 died in crashes, 31% of all fatalities There were 8,514 people under 30 who were injured representing 41% of all injuries.
  • Motorcycle deaths and injuries 64 died and there were 926 injuries. 64% of those killed were known to NOT be wearing their helmet. In all crashes the majority of bikers were not wearing a helmet. Of those killed, 20 were tested for alcohol; 3 were negative 7 were between .10 & .19 and 10 were over .20. The most dangerous time for motorcyclists is between 2pm to 8 pm.   July was their most dangerous month for crashes and August for fatalities.
  • Pedestrian involved crashes with a vehicle numbered 753. Deaths decreased from 60 in 2016 to 45 in 2020.  Most deaths happen in larger cities. October was the most dangerous month. 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. 45% of pedestrians killed and injured were walking across traffic; 20% were working or playing on the road.
  • Bicycle Crashes with a vehicle decreased from last year 691 to 471, but fatalities stayed the same, 7. The most dangerous time is from 3:00 – 6:00 pm., most of these crashes were in bigger cities and most of the riders were over 25 years old.  Summer was the worse month for fatalities, and most crashes happen on the week days. 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.

More bicycle crash facts are at this website https://www.dot.state.mn.us/bike/

  • For senior drivers*: People over 65 are safe drivers as a general rule, but are more likely to die if they are involved in a traffic crash. Drivers over 65 years old are 20% of the driving public and they were involved in 16% of all traffic crashes. There were 81 seniors who died in traffic fatalities and 3,739 injured and there were 8,603 crashes.  3 senior drivers who died were over the legal limit.  For older drivers involved in crashes, failure to yield, and careless/negligent/erratic driving were the most cited for cause of crash. Most all senior involved crashes happen between noon and 5pm. Most dangerous month in 2020 for senior crashes was January and for fatal crashes, July.

*Any crash where a senior driver is involved not including pedestrians or bicyclist

  • Large Trucks* There were 3,786 crashes and 58 fatalities and 1,033 people injured. Most of these crashes happened between 6:30 am to 4pm and usually with clear weather and dry roads. There are more crashes in rural areas. Of the 58 fatalities, 6 were the truck driver.

* any crash that involves a large truck type is counted as a truck crash


  • School Bus crashes happened when skies are clear but roads are not. Wet, snowy, icy roads contribute to over half of school bus crashes. There were 243 crashes, 1 fatality and 51 injuries. School wasn’t in session for part or all of the school year.


  • Hit and Run crashes: 7,307 crashes were classified as hit and run, a decrease from 2019. 13% of all crashes were hit and run. Hit and Run crash numbers have been steadily increasing over the last 10 years except for this year.


Contributing factors in most all crashes is failure to yield

               Most common contributing factor in single vehicle

crashes are Careless/Negligent/& Erratic driving

                    The two most contributing factors in fatal crashes are Speeding, 

and Careless/Negligent/Erratic driving.


The population of Minnesota is about 5.5 million

 5.4 million motor vehicles are registered

There are over 4.7 million licensed drivers

Over 51.4 billion miles were driven

There were 57,127 traffic crashes


My Opinion   2020 was an unusual year where the traffic fatalities should have been way down because the country was shut down for part of the year. In 2019 there were 60.7 billion miles driven and in 2020 there was 51.4 miles driven because there were many people who were working from home or not working. There were not many places to go so people found more outside activities. The crash facts show how driving habits changed. The roads were not busy so some people chose to speed and at high speeds over 100 mph. The ATV crashes increased. In the past, the majority of pedestrians that were killed were intoxicated but not this year. Bars were not open so less were walking home, also DWI arrest were down but the those that were tested had a higher rate of alcohol than in the past. More people must have chosen to drink at home. There were less crashes and injuries but there were 30 more deaths. The only thing that makes sense is the faster you drive the more likely you are to die, especially because the number of people buckling up that were involved in crashes declined this year.


Statistics taken from 2020 Crash Facts Minnesota Department of Public Safety      





 *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.


  • 135 people died in crashes classified as “alcohol- related” That is 17 more people than last year which is 33% of the total fatalities. Of the 277 drivers killed in 2020, 75 drivers were tested and 60 drivers were .08 bac or higher. There were 3,357 total alcohol-related crashes and 3,710 people injured.


  •  July & August were the most dangerous months. The most dangerous time for an alcohol-related crash is 9 pm – 2am and especially early Saturday morning. 56% of alcohol-related crashes happen on the weekend


  • Drinking drivers themselves pay the price. In 2020, 54% of the 135 people who died in alcohol-related crashes were themselves the people whose drinking behavior caused the crash.

The Average BAC in a fatal alcohol related crash is .21bac


  • 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 with seat belts and air bags.
  • County State Aid Highways (rural roads) had the most alcohol- related crashes and deaths.


  • There were 22,653 impaired incidents (DWI arrests) in 2020. 58% of those were first time offenders.  Half of the total offenders will probably reoffend. 1 in 7 Minnesota drivers has a DWI on record. Age of most DWI arrestees were 25-29 with second highest 30 to 34. This group suffered 43% of the alcohol related fatalities and 50% of the injuries.
  • The holiday with the most arrests per hour was Valentine’s Day
  • The average BAC on arrest was .155bac and for those under 21 it was .139bac.
  • Female DWI is increasing. 1980 had 5.1% of arrests, 2000 had 21% and 2020 had 28%
  • 623,474 Minnesotans (11%) have a DWI on their driving record. (it stays on record for a lifetime) 293 people have 20 or more arrests on record with the must number of 53.


Information on these pages came from the Department of Public Safety – Crash 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 55- 68.  To see an Overview of Minnesota Laws, go to page 69.


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