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Feb. 20 was the deadliest day on MN roads in 2012

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On Feb. 20, 2012, eight people were killed on Minnesota roads, making it the deadliest day of the year. Among those killed were four female North Dakota State students who crashed on I-94 near Alexandria.

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To underscore how traffic crashes remain a serious -- and constant -- issue on Minnesota roads, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety compiled the list of the deadliest days of 2012.

According to preliminary fatal crash reports, there have been 384 traffic deaths in 2012, up from 368 in 2011. Last year was the second time since 1944 the state has recorded fewer than 400 deaths.

2012 Deadliest Days

• Feb. 20 -- 8

• May 30 -- 6

• Nov. 6 -- 6

• March 3 -- 5

• June 23 -- 5

• Dec. 27 -- 5

Days with four deaths -- Feb. 10; July 26; Aug. 17; Sept. 1, 6, 11, 14, 16; Oct. 14; Dec. 14.

The longest streak of days in which there was at least one road death was 16 days (July 20-Aug. 4), while the longest streak of days in which there were zero deaths was only four days (occurred Jan. 15-18; Feb. 5-8 and June 10-13).

There were 136 days with zero traffic deaths.

"It's critical that we all take the task of driving seriously and focus on the drive so we can create more zero death days for the future and avoid these preventable tragedies," says Donna Berger, DPS director of the Office of Traffic Safety.

Berger says most crashes are caused by driver error and can be prevented by buckling up, driving at safe speeds, paying attention and planning ahead for a sober ride to avoid driving impaired.

In the past 20 years, there have been eight days with 10 or more deaths.

Crash victims website

The DPS memorial website, Minnesota-CrashVictims.org, provides a dramatic representation of the lives lost on state roads and "goes beyond the stats," according to state traffic safety officials.

The site allows crash victims' families to present a meaningful remembrance of a loved one, while the primary goal is to educate about traffic safety.

The site requires families to enter crash details, such as seat belt or helmet use, and impaired or distracted driving, to enhance the education component.

The site allows families to connect with others who have entered a memorial, and gives visitors an opportunity to post photos and offer remembrances in a victim's guestbook.

The Minnesota Dept. of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.

The Minnesota Dept. of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads.

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