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m8083 BC-MN-TrafficDeaths 09-17 0174

301 traffic deaths in Minn. so far this year

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — There have been 301 traffic deaths in Minnesota so far this year. That’s 14 percent less than this time last year.

The number is as of Tuesday.

Department of Public Safety officials say seat belt use, patrols, road safety improvements and other factors are contributing to the lower death count. Officials also say the spike in gas prices has led motorists to drive less and at safer speeds.

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The 2008 deaths include 52 motorcyclists, 17 percent of the total. In 2007, a total of 61 motorcyclist deaths accounted for just 12 percent of the total number of deaths.

The deaths in 2008 include 19 pedestrians and five bicyclists.

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