Long-time Paul Simon fans may recall his iconic solo hit “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” in which he detailed relationship exit strategies like “step out the back, Jack” and “make a new plan, Stan.”

Each week as I read Minnesota’s crash fatality report, I’m thinking about the song we all need to sing to break up with this unacceptable pace of traffic crash deaths in our state and nationally. Halfway through 2024, the weekly Minnesota report is singing a constant refrain. The crash injury and fatality numbers keep going up and we remain on track for the highest number of crash deaths in several years.

Through June 23, we’ve recorded 192 traffic-related deaths on Minnesota roadways for 2024. That’s up 28% over the same period in 2023, 14% from 2022 and on par with 2021.

As I write this, we’re nearing the half-way mark of this year’s 100 Most Dangerous Days on the road – the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It’s a great time to make use of the dozens of tools available in our Do It for ME/Do It for THEM campaign kit like these social media posts.

Equally distressing this year is the increase in the percentage of fatalities involving unbelted individuals. So far this year, more than one-fourth of those who have died in crashes were not properly restrained – that’s double the number for 2019. In just one June week, nearly half of those of died in crashes were unbelted. Take advantage of this compelling Embrace Life Always Wear Your Seat Belt PSA from Sussex, England, by sharing on your social media accounts, facility video boards and websites.

While this may not earn the 2024 Song of the Summer label we all need to sing it each day and stay focused on slowing down and giving driving our full attention.

Just buckle it up, Chuck.

Don’t pick up your phone, Joan.

Keep your hands on the wheel, Cecile.

Cut down on that speed, Reed.

And keep yourself safe.

Yours in traffic safety,


Minnesota NETS Coordinator