Ask a Trooper: Crash facts of 2012
Question: I would like to know what the final general crash facts were from 2012, so that when the 2013 facts are sent out, I have an idea of what is going on in comparison to the recent past.
Answer: The 2012 fatality count is the second lowest annual death figure (behind 2011) since 1944, when 356 were killed. These facts are all on the Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety website. Minnesota has among the lowest fatal crash rates in the nation.
We had 395 traffic deaths in 2012. These deaths included 116 unbelted motorist deaths, 104 drunk driving crash victims and 55 motorcyclist deaths. The 395 fatalities included 276 motorists, 55 motorcyclists; 40 pedestrians; nine ATV riders; seven bicyclists; two farm equipment occupants; two commercial bus riders; one snowmobile rider; and three unknown vehicle types. Of the 395 deaths, 286 (72 percent) occurred in the 80 counties of greater Minnesota, while 109 deaths (28 percent) occurred in the Twin Cities’ seven county metro area.
There were 57 billion vehicle miles traveled in Minnesota last year, less than 1 percent higher than the 56.7 billion in 2011. In 2012, there were 29,314 total injuries, of which 1,268 were severe and life-altering. There were 21,321 fatal and injury crashes—down from 21,996 in 2011; 24,333 in 2008; and 28,648 in 2004. Driver distraction-related crashes resulted in 51 deaths, down from 72 in 2011. Speed-related crashes resulted in 74 deaths—down from 83 in 2011.
Of the 276 vehicle occupants killed, 116 were not buckled up—54 percent of those not belted were ejected. A decade ago, there were 257 unbelted deaths. Seat belt compliance is at a record high 94 percent. There were two children killed (ages 0-7) and 721 injured—of those killed, one was not properly restrained; of the injured, 32 percent were not restrained.
Drunk-driving crashes resulted in 104 deaths, down from 111 in 2011. Last year, 28,418 motorists were arrested for DWI, a 3 percent decrease from 2011 (29,257) and down from 35,736 in 2008. As mentioned, there were 55 motorcycle rider deaths, up from 42 in 2011. There were 40 teenage deaths (ages 13–19) in 2012, one more than the 39 teen deaths in 2011—but down 25 percent from the 53 teen deaths five years ago (2008). Teen drivers (16–19) were involved in 34 fatal crashes resulting in 43 deaths.
Also, there were 40 pedestrian deaths in 2012, the same number as in 2011. There were seven bicyclist deaths in 2012, up from five in 2011. I hope this helps, now you can watch for the 2013 facts.
If you have any questions for future columns concerning motor vehicle traffic in Minnesota, please send your questions to: “ASK A TROOPER” c/o Sgt. Curt S. Mowers, Minnesota State Patrol, 7694 Industrial Park Road, Suite 2 Baxter, MN 6425 or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with Ask a Trooper in the subject line. Questions are edited.