MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The overall number of traffic crashes decreased in Minneapolis in 2020, but the number of fatal crashes increased by 30%.

According to the Vision Zero annual report presented to the City Council’s Transportation and Public Works Committee, 17 people were killed in traffic crashes last year.

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There were an additional 122 severe injury crashes in the report and 75% of the cases found excessive speeding as a factor.

Vision Zero is the city’s initiative to eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries on our streets.

Officials say reductions in travel and increased reckless driving during the COVID-19 pandemic played a role in traffic crashes.

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Overall, crashes were down 39% in 2020 compared to the average of recent years and severe crashes were down 21%. However, there were more fatal crashes than any year since 2013.

According to officials, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have recently lowered speed limits to make travel safer.

Speed limits are 20 mph for local residential streets, 25 mph for larger, arterial city-owned streets, and 30-plus mph for a few city-owned streets.

Flexible posts and paint were installed at 29 intersections in 2020 as an attempt by the city’s public works department to eliminate traffic deaths.

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The Vision Zero capital funding program will add an additional 20-plus miles of proven safety improvements on high-injury streets in the next two years.