ST. PAUL (AP) -- After an entire holiday weekend without a traffic death, Minnesota is on pace for an even safer year on the state's roads.

397 people have died in traffic crashes this year. That's less than the 421 traffic deaths last year, which had been the lowest number since 1944.

The safer roads are part of a continuing trend. Nathan Bowie is a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. He says there's been a 30 percent drop in traffic deaths since the early 2000s.

Officials attribute the decrease to greater seatbelt usage and efforts to discourage drunk driving. They also credit safer cars, better highways and improved trauma care.

The deadliest year in Minnesota history was 1968. There were 1,060 traffic deaths that year.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)