Reports from fatal crashes are reviewed to gather information that might help to determine if any specific action can or should be done to make area roads safer. Some of the past reviews have resulted in specific enforcement projects for area officers, while some reviews involved follow up actions by road authorities or special education efforts. Fatal reviews have been conducted by the Crow Wing County Passenger Safety Coalition since about 2004, originally as a result of grant requirements under the umbrella of the Towards Zero Deaths program in Minnesota.
Between August 2012 and February 2013, members of the Crow Wing County Passenger Safety Coalition who make up the fatal review committee reviewed nine fatalities in Crow Wing County. Aspects of these reviews include road conditions at time of accidents, were seat belts worn, did the air bags deploy, whether driver’s were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash, or if there were any other extenuating circumstances or conditions (i.e. weather, road surfaces, lighting or traffic) which may have been contributing factors in the crash.
Upon review of these crashes, it was determined that contributing factors may have been alcohol and driver inattentiveness in six of the fatal crashes; excess speed in two of the crashes; and weather conditions in one. An additional contributing factor may have been lack of seat belt use. Only 50 percent (3 out of 6) were wearing seat belts at the time of the collision. The remaining three vehicles were motorcycles.
Motorists are encouraged to slow down, buckle up, and remember that arriving at their destination safely is their goal. Motorcyclists are also encouraged to drive safely, obey speed limit laws, and wear a helmet for their protection.
The Crow Wing County Passenger Safety Coalition was a major player in the effort to get the county off the 13 Deadliest County list for alcohol-related traffic deaths. For more information about the Crow Wing County Passenger Safety Coalition call Myra at 218-330-8155 or go to the website at http://www.cwcpassengersafety.com/.