At least eight people were killed over the weekend in crashes on Minnesota roads, making it among the deadliest weekends this year.
The fatalities push this year’s death toll to 250, compared with 238 at this time last year. The increase in this year’s numbers may mean the number of fatalities by year’s end could surpass last year’s total of 395, according to the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.
This year’s other deadly weekends were April 5-7 with 10 fatalities, May 31-June 2 with eight and July 26-28 with seven.
This weekend’s fatal crashes include a 20-year-old man who was killed in Minneapolis by a suspected drunken driver. The other crashes occurred in Anoka, Carver, Hennepin, Otter Tail, Renville, St. Louis and Watonwan counties.
The crashes included three involving motorcycles, pushing the total number of motorcyclist fatalities to 53 so far this year. That compares with a total of 55 motorcyclists killed by the end of 2012.
Public safety officials said half of the motorcycle deaths didn’t involve another vehicle. For example, in 19 cases, the motorcyclist failed to negotiate a curve. In nine cases involving another vehicle, the motorist failed to yield the right of way.
Among the key findings in the motorcyclist deaths:
• Sixty-four percent were older than 45 years of age and 19 percent were under 30. Young riders, however, make up only 1 percent of the total driving population, and those older than 45 account for 7 percent of the total driving population. But together those riders make up 20 percent of the total number of traffic deaths to date.
• Of the 53 who died, 31 were not wearing a helmet; 12 riders did wear one.
• Six were killed in a collision with a deer.
• More than 60 percent of the crashes occurred in a rural area; 28 percent occurred in the seven-county metro area.