Wright County fatals hold steady


The Wright County Fatal Review Committee met recently to review all of the fatal vehicle-related crashes on roads within Wright County during 2014. There were a total of 14 crashes resulting in 15 fatalities. This is the same number of lives that were lost on the roads in 2013, when there were 12 crashes resulting in 15 fatalities.
 Five out of the six fatalities that occurred before May were the result of poor road conditions and weather. This is an unusual pattern, as alcohol, speed, and distraction are the top causes cited for crashes statewide, not weather conditions.
The other unusual pattern is the second contributing cause of our local crashes was failure to yield. This is drivers who are not coming to complete stops, looking left-right-left, and ensuring the roadway is clear before proceeding.
 Alcohol did play a part in over 30% of the crash fatalities. While this is unacceptable since these crashes are 100% avoidable, this number has been as high as 60% just a few years ago. While the Fatal Review Committee is pleased with the decline in this area, they agree there is still much work to be done in reducing impaired driving. 
The Fatal Review Committee encourages drivers to follow four simple actions to increase their safety when they are behind the wheel: Always wear a seat belt, drive at safe speeds, drive sober, and pay attention. In poor weather conditions, these actions become even more important. 
The Wright County Fatal Review Committee is made up of professionals from law enforcement, emergency response, engineering and education. Participants include the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, MN State Patrol, Allina Medical Transportation, Wright County Highway Department, and Wright County Public Health, and Safe Communities of Wright County.  The goal of this group is to review fatal crashes that happen in Wright County and identify commonalities, patterns, and trends that could be addressed to prevent future crashes.
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