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The Minnesota State Patrol shared a sad statistic this week: There has been an increase in fatal crashes in Minnesota in 2020 despite the fact that there were fewer cars on the road this year.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield with WCCO spoke with the director of the Department of Public Safety, Mike Hanson, about the increase in crashes this year. He told them that "'this is counter to everything that we would have anticipated.'"

So far in 2020, there have been 372 fatal car crashes. This time last year there were 346. That is an increase in 26 fatal crashes. Even though fewer people have been out driving the fatal crashes have increased. If we look deeper into that data, 63 of those involved motorcyclists compared to 44 last year and 94 involved unbelted motorists 68 last year. Also, 110 of those fatal crashes involved speeding, whereas this time last year 70 were due to speeding. Why is that?

Mike thinks it's because there's more space for people to maneuver and speed because of fewer people being on the road. "'As traffic volumes have gone down, as congestion has gone down, there’s much more lane space for drivers to use and quite honestly to abuse out there.'"

The Minnesota State Patrol reminds everyone to slow down, pay attention, and buckle up.

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