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202 people have died on Minnesota roads so far in 2021

The people killed between Jan. 1 and July 1 include three bicyclists, 23 pedestrians, 26 motorcyclists and 142 motor vehicle occupants.

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Exactly halfway through the year and more than 200 people have lost their lives on Minnesota roads, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety reported Thursday, July 1.

The 202 people killed between Jan. 1 and July 1 include three bicyclists, 23 pedestrians, 26 motorcyclists and 142 motor vehicle occupants.

The milestone comes less than three months after the office announced another dark moment — the state surpassed 100 traffic deaths on April 21, making it the earliest date that mark has been reached in six years.

“Exactly halfway through 2021, and I’m at a loss for words. What is it going to take for drivers to understand the importance of driving smart?” Mike Hanson, director of the state's Office of Traffic Safety, said in a statement. “Two hundred traffic fatalities by July 1 is just unacceptable. You’re at much greater risk of planning a funeral now than in the past because of what’s happening on our roads. We all need to drive smart to help protect each other while out on the roads.”

Of the 202 traffic fatalities, 80 were speed-related, 45 were alcohol-related, five were distraction-related and 46 were unbelted motorists, according to preliminary information. And 145 of them were men.

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The increase in traffic fatalities in the state seems to be a continuing trend from 2020 as a stay-at-home order seemed to do little to stymie the rise of deaths on Minnesota roads.

Preliminary numbers from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety indicated that 394 people lost their lives on Minnesota roads in 2020. That was an increase from 364 in 2019 and 381 in 2018. It was also the highest number since 2015, when 411 people were killed.

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