ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- - The number of people who died in Minnesota traffic crashes rose in 2012 after five years of improving numbers.
The Department of Public Safety says preliminary reports show 378 people died across the state last year. That's up from 368 traffic deaths in 2011.
The department's Office of Traffic Safety says the 2012 number could approach 400 after additional crash reports are submitted.
A St. Cloud Times report says possible factors in the increase include drunken or distracted drivers, as well as people not wearing seat belts.
The fatalities include 53 motorcyclist deaths, a 25 percent increase. Traffic officials say that could have been due to a warm winter that led to faster, unsafe speeds.
Drunken-driving crashes accounted for more than one-third of Minnesota's traffic fatalities.
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