Traffic fatalities on the rise

FREEBORN COUNTY, Iowa - Winter driving is always dangerous, but the Department of Public Safety in Minnesota says this winter has been especially bad.

Since January first, there have been 32 fatal crashes in Minnesota statewide, which is an alarming number when compared to the 21 deaths at this point last year.

Lt. John Mueller with the Austin Police Department says it’s always frustrating to learn that either drivers or passengers in the vehicle weren’t buckled up, but according to the public safety report this year, nearly two-thirds of those who have died were not wearing seat belts, were driving too fast or, it was a combination of the two.

“With our motor vehicle accidents, we still see cases where seat belts are not used, and while it has improved, we are striving to make a difference both through education and enforcement.”

As a part of their education and enforcement, they’re hoping to decrease the number of overall fatalities in the state, but thanks to the rough weather we’ve seen this winter, the numbers are proving this could be a tragic 2014.

“The goal this year, is to see that number be below 350 deaths, but it’s been kind of a rough start to the year to get to that 350.”

Just today the Austin police department responded to an accident on 4th Street and I-90; no one was injured, but officers say speed was most likely a cause for the crash.

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