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Minnesota traffic deaths hit 100-mark

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Minnesota's year-to-date traffic fatalities reached 100 over the weekend -- following a nine-day stretch that included 10 traffic deaths of which nine people were unbelted.

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The current death total of 104 is 9.6 percent below the pace of road deaths last year. At this rate, the Department of Public Safety projects 490 deaths for the year, or an average of 9.4 traffic fatalities per week.

In 2007, the state reached 100 traffic deaths on April 10.

The 2007 preliminary fatal count is 505. In 2006, the state recorded 494 traffic deaths, the lowest road death tally since 1945. Traffic deaths to-date for 2008 include six pedestrians and four motorcyclists.

Public Safety officials urge all motorists to commit to safe driving practices, especially as the state heads into warmer weather months -- meaning more pedestrian, bicycle and motorcycle traffic. Typically, the greatest number of fatal and serious injury crashes occurs during the summer months.

"Preventing traffic deaths comes down to motorists taking driving seriously," says Cheri Marti, DPS director of the Office of Traffic Safety. "Driving is a cooperative activity, not a competitive one."

Marti urges all motorists to buckle up, pay attention, drive at safe speeds and always plan for a sober ride to avoid driving impaired. Major law enforcement efforts targeting seat belt use and impaired driving will continue across Minnesota.

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