The nation's roads were slightly less deadly in 2013 as the number of people killed in vehicle crashes declined by 3 percent compared to the previous year. The number of people who required medical attention due to injuries suffered in crashes fell two percent from 2012 to 2013 according to preliminary estimates by the National Safety Council.
There were approximately 35,200 fatalities and 3.8 million injuries nationwide attributed to vehicle crashes last year which mirrored levels recorded in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, the council reported a spike in both fatalities (36,200) and injuries (3.9 million), which was the first increase since 2004 to 2005. The council cited more miles driven as a result of an improving economy and the mild winter across much of the country as the reason for the bump in 2012.
The estimated cost of motor vehicle deaths, injuries and property damage in 2013 was estimated at $267.5 billion, a 3 percent decline from 2012.
In Minnesota, the National Safety Council data shows that 376 people died on state roads. Numbers from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety show that in 2012, 395 people died on state roads and 29,314 people were injured.
Still, those numbers could be lower, said John Ulczycki, vice president of Strategic Initiatives at the nonprofit advocacy organization founded more than 100 years ago. He said too many drivers are taking unnecessary risks, including speeding, driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol, not wearing seat belts, using their phones to talk or text, and parents who allow teens to drive before they are ready.
"More than 90 percent of crashes are due to human error," he said. We all need to look at the risks we take and the resulting harm that may be caused to ourselves and others. Many of these 35,200 fatalities last year surely involved people taking risks they thought they could handle. Sadly, they were wrong."