Fewer people died on Minnesota roads last year compared to 2012, but the total number of crashes jumped during the year.
There were 387 traffic fatalities in Minnesota last year, the second lowest total in 10 years, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety reported Monday. Total crashes, however, rose 12 percent to 77,707 in 2013.
Drinking and driving was the number one reason for fatalities, killing 117 people. While that's down from 131 in 2012, drinking and driving remains the leading cause of traffic deaths, responsible for one of every three traffic fatalities over the past decade, the department said.
The department rolled out the crash data Monday hoping to steer people toward safe driving as the Fourth of July holiday weekend approaches.
Most crashes that change lives forever are avoidable, said Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Chris Erickson, who investigates crashes and notifies family members of injuries and deaths.
"Is the text really worth it?" Erickson asked. "Is it worth it to try making it a few blocks from the bar to my residence when I can get a ride, when I can get a cab?"
More than 70 percent of last year's fatalities happened outside the seven-county Twin Cities' metro area. About one third of the people killed were not wearing seatbelts, the department said.