New Website Gives A Face For Every Traffic Death

By Edgar Linares, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) A new website by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is geared towards lowering the number of traffic related deaths in Minnesota.

The Web site is

“The intent of the site is to put faces behind the crash numbers,” said Nathan Bowie, Spokesman for Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

For the second straight year Minnesota roads have had the lowest number of deaths.

In 2010, at least 410 people were killed on Minnesota roads; the final count is expected to be around 420.

In 2009, a total of 421 were killed, that’s the lowest number of annual traffic deaths since 1944.

Officials claim traffic safety legislation, enhanced enforcement, and efficient emergency response as a few factors for the lower numbers.

“Ultimately the deaths will go down, and continue to trend down due to safe driving behavior,” said Bowie. “Our last survey shows in August of 2010 that seat belt use went up to 92 percent, which is quite high.”

Bowie hopes the new website will motivate more drivers to be safe.

“So often we throw out stats of how many people were killed. Truly, one person’s story can have such a greater impact to influence someone’s driving behavior,” said Bowie.

The site contains true stories of people who were killed on Minnesota roads. You can also read about their legacy.

Kristy Kilpela, 16, is one of the victims on the site. She died on Oct. 7, 2010 after a car going the wrong way hit Kristy while she was riding in a car with her sister, Candice. Candice survived, but Kristy didn’t.

The site also has room for family members to add a memorial. Kristy’s page says, “Kristy was extremely intelligent and designed her own music, had an extreme love for nature and animals, and enjoyed the simple things in life.”

So far, the site has only a dozen stories, but Bowie hopes more will be posted.

“What we know is education is a key component to establish a safe driving culture in Minnesota,” said Bowie. “These deaths are preventable in Minnesota.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports

More from Edgar Linares
  • JamieinMN

    I think this is wonderful. Not only do you get to create a memorial for a loved one, you can sprd the facts about the dangers of drinking and driving, and also post helpful tips about winter driving and defensive driving.

    • JamieinMN

      Whoops, “spread”

  • K.

    I disagree that education is the key. I am an educator for adult learners and it has been shown time and time again that education does not change behavior. It can raise awareness, yes, but ultimately, behavior change will only come about when the person makes a commitment to do so. This is a very difficult thing to accomplish. But, it’s websites like this and advertisements in the media that contain stories designed to hit you in the gut that will eventually bring about this behavior change.

    • JamieinMN

      Education may not be the key, but at least it’s there. It doesn’t hurt to keep trying. Think positively…sheesh.

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