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Traffic deaths in Manatee, state of Florida decline

Traffic deaths declined statewide and in Manatee County in 2011, according to new data released by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles this week.

In 2011, 2,373 people died in traffic crashes in Florida. In 2010, there were 2,444 deaths. The number of traffic deaths has declined in the past six years, the departent’s executive director Julie L. Jones said in a statement.

The latest number in traffic deaths is the lowest reported in Florida since 1978 despite the fact that the state’s population has doubled since that year, a media release said.

In Manatee County, 41 traffic fatalities were reported in 2011 compared to 44 in 2010.

To continue reducing the number of traffic crashes, the department is taking a “strategic approach to making Florida’s roadways safe,” the release said, including registering vehicles and licensing drivers.

But Florida Highway Patrol director, Col. David Brierton, said in a statement that “motorists can do their part, too, when they buckle up and drive sober.”