St. Paul, MN (KROC AM News)  - The head of the Minnesota Public Safety Department held a news conference Thursday to issue an urgent call for Minnesotans to take responsibility and make a commitment to safe driving.

The 2014 Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report shows the number of traffic deaths in the state last year was the lowest since World War II, but situation on state roads this year is starkly different. Commissioner Mona Dohman the number of traffic fatalities is up 18-percent when compared to mid-July a year ago.

At the end of last year, the grim tally was 361 deaths, which was down 7-percent from 2013 and 36-percent from 2004 when 567 people were killed in traffic crashes in Minnesota.