The Fourth of July is Minnesota's deadliest day of the year on the road -- even deadlier than New Year's.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety says Independence Day has racked up 15 statewide traffic deaths in the last three years, topping May 22 (13), May 23 (11) and July 10 (11) for the deadliest 24-hour period.
DPS officials urge drivers to buckle up, drive at safe speeds, keep their eyes on the road and plan sober rides for holiday celebrations.
So far in 2012 there have been 147 traffic deaths, topping 136 at this time in 2011. Fourth of July travel periods – the 78 hour period surrounding the holiday – from 2009–2011 saw 21 deaths. Of the 21, 14 were a result of an alcohol-impaired crash. A total of 1,536 DWI arrests were made in that period.
"The spike in drinking and driving deaths during the Fourth of July is a clear and simple reminder why Minnesotans need to plan ahead for a sober ride," said Donna Berger, director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety.