ST. PAUL — Traffic deaths in Minnesota increased 6% last year, but continue a downward trend over a five-year period, a state report said.

Overall, 381 deaths were among the 79,215 reported crashes in 2018, with speed being the top factor in 113 of those deaths, the state report Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts, released Thursday, Aug. 29, said. Failing to buckle up resulted in 96 deaths, while 84 deaths were tied to impaired driving and 29 to distractions. Fifty-eight of those killed were on a motorcycle while 45 were pedestrians.

So far in 2019, 223 deaths have been reported, compared to 218 at this time a year ago.

From 2009-2013, Minnesota saw an average of 396 deaths per year. The last five years had had an average of 381, a 4% decrease, according to state statistics.

“Our goal is to drive Minnesota traffic deaths to zero,” said Mike Hanson, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety director. “We can’t reach that goal through enforcement alone. We need the help of every driver and everyone on the road. We are losing too many of our friends and family members to completely preventable events. Help drive the traffic fatalities down by doing your part. That means always buckling up, driving hands-free and putting the distractions away, always lining up a sober ride and driving the speed limit or according to the conditions of the road.”

Other statistics

  • Drunk driving arrests across the state totaled 26,414 in 2018 and alcohol-related crashes resulted in 123 deaths. State statistics show 1 in 7 Minnesota drivers has a DWI.
  • The state reported seat belt use, a primary offense, was 92 percent, according to an observational study in June.
  • The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) last year in Minnesota was 0.60, which the state said is one of the lowest rates in the nation. In 1968, Minnesota had a rate of 5.3 deaths per VMT and has been below 2 since 1982.
  • Over half of fatal crashes and over two-thirds of nonfatal crashes occurred during daylight hours.

  • A majority of crashes occur in good weather conditions. Nearly two-thirds of all crashes occur during “clear” weather.

  • For fatal crashes, 72% were on dry roads, 11% were on wet roads and 11% were on snowy or icy roads.

  • Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays accounted for 41% of the fatal crashes in 2018.

  • Traffic crashes estimated economic cost to Minnesota in 2018: Nearly $1.9 billion.