There was an interesting article in the Brainerd Dispatch a couple of weeks ago regarding traffic deaths increasing 6 percent in 2018. Of the 380 total deaths listed 221 were either alcohol-related or speed-related. Also listed were 27 deaths as distracted-related and 90 deaths for unbuckled occupant's both of which increased in 2018.

These latter two types of deaths are less than either alcohol or speeding caused deaths alone. It is also interesting to note the number of distracted related deaths in the newspaper was different in a state legislative news article this past week. Makes one wonder if any government numbers are correct.

Moving on and thinking only of the 221 alcohol and speed related deaths are these numbers only part of the story. An unanswered question is how many deaths of these two causes were the individuals under the influence of alcohol or speeding and how many deaths were innocent individuals killed by individuals under the influence of alcohol or speeding. The impact on families and society is far different between those that died by their own hand or being killed by others. The same is being said about distracted drivers killing innocent people.

The state legislators have already spoken about distracted driving being addressed and on the horizon could be a bill to approve a new way in Minnesota to increase the vehicle death, injure, and expenses associated with driving. A bill for approving "recreational marijuana" is most likely coming. Are innocent citizens just more cannon fodder on our roads? Is it just another backdoor means of increasing money to government as a taxation bill?

Kent Rees

Emily