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Published June 20, 2010, 05:36 PM

Minnesota Traffic Fatalities Lowest Since 1944

Improved roads, stricter laws and safer cars are a few of the reasons for keeping the numbers down in the state.

A new report from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety shows a decrease in traffic fatalities.

One highway patrolman has a few reasons why he thinks this is true.

A new crash report shows traffic fatalities on Minnesota roads are the lowest in over 60 years. One factor may be improved road safety.

“I think traffic fatalities are down because of several different factors.” said Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Dave Eischens, “One is road design, roads are wider and safer. Another is vehicle designs, anti-lock breaks, air-bags and more comfortable seat belts.”

There were 421 traffic fatalities in Minnesota in 2009 which is an 8-percent drop from the year before. There are many efforts in place to keep those numbers going down.

“ The DWI laws are pretty severe now and have impacted numbers somewhat and a lot of ad campaigns for driving. "Wear your seat belts" make people more aware of what they should be doing.” said Eischens.

With many distractions on the road including cell-phones, mapquest and music. Officials say you should plan out your trip before-hand.

“The alcohol is one factor, speeds another. But the biggest problem now is driver inattention. People aren't paying attention to what's going on around them. Pay attention to what's going on around you, know where your turns are at and don't be distracted by what else is going on in your car.” said Eischens.

Cut out the distractions and officers say it will help keep roads safe for everyone.

Officials say several other reasons for the lower numbers may include the new booster seat and seat belt laws, the point eight legal alcohol limit and stronger teen driver's license laws.

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