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Minnesota highway deaths lowest since 1944

DPS, picking up after another wreck.

DPS, picking up after another wreck.

Minnesota's annual traffic death toll fell for the third year in a row in 2010, this time to 411. The only other year on record with a lower count was 1944 when 356 were killed.

There were also 131 alcohol-related deaths, a record low. And the new Department of Public Safety statistics suggest that the death toll this year in on track for an over all improvement again: 125 road deaths compared to 156 deaths at this time in 2010.

Still, there were some startling -- in a bad way -- data points for 2010:

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  • 74,073 traffic crashes involving 134,414 motor vehicles,182,672 people and 31,176 injuries were reported to DPS.
  • On an average day in 2010 there were 203 crashes, 1.1 deaths and 85 injuries and average daily cost: $4,047,640 for $1,477,388,500 total.
  • Alcohol was involved in 3,743 of those crashes, resulting in 131 deaths and 2,485 injuries and a cost of $238,914,400.

That ought to sober a few more people up, and prompt them to put on their set belts. In fact, a DPS observational study last August showed belt use by front seat drivers and passengers was about 92 percent.

More: Download and read the full Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts here.