MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Officials say 381 people died on Minnesota roadways last year – a 6% increase from 2017.

Though the state saw an increase in traffic deaths, there continues to be a downward trend in fatalities over five-year periods.

According to a report from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, speed, lack of seatbelt, impaired driving and distractions were the top four contributing factors in 2018 traffic deaths.

“We are losing too many of our friends and family members to completely preventable events,” said Mike Hanson, director of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety. “Help drive the traffic fatalities down by … 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.”

In 2018, there were 79,215 crashes involving 146,107 vehicles, and 172,908 people were involved in the incidents. In addition to the 381 traffic deaths, 27,877 people were injured. Of the 381 people who died last year, 258 were motorists, 58 were motorcyclists and 45 were pedestrians. The number also included nine ATV riders, seven bicyclists, one commercial bus driver and three other vehicle types.

So far in 2019, 223 people have died in crashes compared to 218 reported deaths this time last year.

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