“Deadliest” Memorial Day weekend since 1996

by Briana Bierschbach

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is calling this year’s Memorial Day weekend the "deadliest" in more than 10 years, according to a MDPS press release.

Preliminary reports from MDPS show that there were at least 12 traffic deaths over the weekend, with nine occurring on Saturday. Involved in these fatal accidents were seven motorists, two motorcyclists and a pedestrian.

During the Memorial Day last year, two Minnesotans were killed on the roads. In 1996, 13 people died, the most since Memorial Day weekend 1972, when 16 people were killed.

Of the seven motorist deaths, two were unbelted. According to the press release, Cheri Marti, MDPS director of the Office of Traffic Safety said the high number of deaths highlights the importance of the new primary seat belt law, which goes into effect June 9 this year.

The new law allows officers to pull over a vehicle simply if the driver or passengers are not wearing their seat belt. The current, secondary law states that an officer must first witness a moving violation before they can issue a citation for not wearing a seat belt.  

Minnesota is the 29th state to pass a primary seat belt law following the recent passage by both Arkansas and Florida.