AUSTIN EDITION - Traffic accidents cost Mower $14.8 million

Traffic accidents in Mower County cost the county $14.8 million because of lost lives, injuries and property damage, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

The financial loss was calculated by assigning $1 million for each of the seven people killed in fatal accidents last year. The 20 severely injured people had an economic impact of $990,000, and the 108 moderately injured people cost $1.78 million. The 177 minor injuries cost $1.66 million, and the 524 property-damage accidents cost $3.4 million.

Driving while impaired, speeding, aggressive or inattentive driving were the major causes of accidents. Not obeying the law and not wearing seat belts were the leading causes of death and injury.

The Department of Public Safety has given the county a new $450 breath tester to help with the sheriff's department's Safe and Sober campaign.

"(The two departments) have been doing an excellent job of reducing the number and severity of crashes," said Brad Kollmann, the Safe and Sober liaison. "Without a doubt, the greatest threat to the safety of the citizens of Mower County is traffic crashes."

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