Traffic fatalities in Minnesota cracked the triple-digit mark over the weekend, the Department of Public Safety reports, and the state is on pace to have fewer deaths on the roads than for any year since the 1940s.

The current total stands at 104, and this comes after a nine-day recent stretch that included 10 traffic deaths. Nine of the victims were not using their seat belts.

At this rate, the Department of Public Safety projects 490 deaths for the year, or an average of 9.4 per week.

Last year, 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 this year include six pedestrians and four motorcyclists.

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

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482