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WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 28, 2010, 11:13 AM

Minnesota Traffic Deaths Down This Year From Last

After a holiday weekend without a traffic death, Minnesota is on pace for a safer year on state roads than usual.

By: Associated Press,

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - After a holiday weekend without a traffic death, Minnesota is on pace for a safer year on state roads than usual.

KARE-TV says 397 people have died in traffic crashes this year. That's just three more than at this point last year, when final reports gave Minnesota a final total of 421 deaths - making it the safest year since 1944.

The safer roads are part of a continuing trend. Department of Public Safety spokesman Nathan Bowie says there's been a 30 percent drop in traffic deaths since the early 2000s.

Officials say it's because of greater seatbelt use and efforts to discourage drunk driving. They also credit safer cars, better highways and improved trauma care.

The deadliest year in Minnesota history was 1968, with 1,060 traffic deaths.

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