When and Why do Severe and Fatal Crashes Happen?

A: When speaking with the public about traffic safety and knowing the propensity of typical Minnesota weather, the majority of people believe that most severe and fatal traffic crashes occur in the winter months when roads can be at their worst in our fine state.  However, the opposite is true.

According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, in the past three years the majority of crashes have occurred in December, January and February (72,304 total), with deaths and incapacitating injuries sustained by 715 individuals during those months.  Compare that to the top three severe and fatal injury crash months of the same years; these occur during our summer months of July, August and October (1,276 serious injuries or deaths stemming from 48,757 total crashes).  It should be noted that these deadly and life-changing months were followed closely by May, June and September crash statistics.

So, what are the statistics telling us?  Yes, due to weather conditions and other factors, our roadways experience more crashes during our winter months verses our typical clear road months.  However, people normally drive slower and are more focused on driving in inclement weather than possibly during their summer counterparts.  As for clear weather driving, people speed more frequently during summer months increasing the chance of a crash and the severity of the crash due to the impact endured.

So what can you do to be a safer driver, passenger, and pedestrian to not only help you but those around you?

Obey the speed limit

Wear your seatbelt

Stay focused – limit distractions while in the vehicle

Be Sober – don’t drive impaired and plan ahead

As of today’s date, 149 people have lost their lives in traffic related crashes in 2012, four of which occurred in Sherburne County.     — Joel Brott, Sherburne County sheriff