ST. PAUL -- Seventy-six people have died on Minnesota roads since Memorial Day -- significantly ahead of the same period last year and the most since at least 2017.

Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety Director Mike Hanson says traffic is at, or beyond pre-pandemic levels:

"The bad behaviors that started under COVID, when everybody was under the impression that the roads were empty, are just continuing unabated and they're actually accelerating."

Hanson is talking about excessive speed -- although alcohol, distracted driving and unbelted motorists also factor into the high number of traffic deaths.

"It's a complete lack of respect for the rules of the road and for anybody else who is trying to safely use our transportation system."

229 people have died on Minnesota roads this year, compared to 169 at this same in 2020 -- a 36-percent increase.

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Hanson terms it a traffic safety crisis.

This story is courtesy of the Minnesota News Network. 

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