ST. PAUL  (AP) - Minnesota is off to a safer start on the roads this year, compared with the previous two years.

So far this year, more than 100 people have been killed in traffic crashes on Minnesota roads. The state Office of Traffic Safety says the preliminary count of 102 deaths is 23 percent below the pace of last year.

Minnesota topped the 100-death mark after a week that included at least nine traffic fatalities.

In both 2009 and 2010, Minnesota reached the 100-death mark in late April.

Safety officials say higher gas prices and bad weather
- which results in slower speeds and a late start for motorcyclists
- have contributed to the safer start in 2011.

At this rate, Minnesota is projected to have 375 traffic deaths in 2011.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)