The state Department of Public Safety on Thursday released the final tally of traffic deaths for 2009, and the total number remained the lowest since 1944.
Authorities said in January that traffic deaths reached 403 last year. The revised number is 421, which is still the lowest since 1944.
The number of deaths in 2009 was 8 percent lower than the total for 2008.
While Minnesotans traveled fewer miles in 2009 because of the recession, the death rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was the lowest ever recorded in the state -- less than one person at 0.74.
Besides the economy, public safety officials credit the state's primary seat belt law, road improvements, enforcement actions for drunken driving and other offenses, and education for the decrease in traffic deaths.