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Minneapolis Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Drivers believe texting should be illegal

Although many Minnesota drivers feel that they themselves can safely drive and text at the same time, they are not as confident about the texting and driving abilities of others. For example, even though a survey showed that more than 60 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 were confident in their skills, 90 percent of all motorists who responded believed that texting and driving should be illegal.

In 2015, there were more than 3,470 car accident fatalities and 391,000 injuries that were attributed to accidents caused by distracted drivers. Teens were the largest group of drivers who were distracted when the accident occurred. However, younger drivers were more likely to be confident in their texting and driving skills.

Collision avoidance systems reduce the number of car crashes

Many Minnesota drivers may have heard about certain warning systems that are being installed in vehicles. However, they may also be interested to learn that less than 9 percent of all new vehicles being sold come with these warning systems as part of their standard equipment, even though they have been shown to reduce the number of car accidents that occur on the nation's roadways.

For example, a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that the rate of head-on collisions, sideswipes and single-vehicle accidents in 2015 were 11 percent lower in cars that had warning systems installed. The number of accidents that resulted in injuries was cut by 21 percent in vehicles that had warning systems. Ultimately, the numbers show that, if all vehicles had lane departure warnings technology, an estimated 55,000 injuries would have been avoided in 2015 alone.

Driver fatigue and other factors in truck crashes

America is a sleep-deprived country.The costs of that, when it comes to increased risk of crashes, are undeniable.

The problem is most acute for truckers who have obstructive sleep apnea. One recent study found, for example, that drivers who have this condition are five times as likely to be involved in crashes.

Self-driving cars get a reality check

It may be a while before Minnesota drivers share the road with fully autonomous vehicles that guide themselves without human assistance. Even as companies such as General Motors, Intel, Google, Tesla, and Uber invest billions of dollars into the research and development of self-driving technology, current forecasts that suggest highways will soon be filled with autonomous vehicles might be a few decades off.

For tech entrepreneurs such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the future of self-driving cars cannot get here fast enough, and the same goes for auto insurance industry executives who praise the safety record of the prototypes tested thus far. Google's autonomous vehicles have driven than 3 million miles with only a couple of accidents. This is certainly promising in a country where 100 people are estimated to die in traffic accidents each day.

Federal agencies cancel potential rule on apnea screening

Minnesota residents may have more concerns after the Trump administration ended a year-long federal rulemaking process aiming at a standardized approach to sleep apnea for truck drivers and railroad workers. Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that prevents sufferers from achieving restful sleep. It can lead to drowsy driving or even sleeping behind the wheel in some cases.

Because of the danger posed by drowsy truck drivers or train engineers responsible for massive vehicles with the potential to cause severe injuries for many people, the Department of Transportation has been considering making a uniform federal screening rule for the disorder. However, in August 2017, the agency announced that it will no longer seek a standard regulation and believes that current programs are appropriate.

Study says increased speed limits cause more deaths

Legal speed limits have increased over the years in Minnesota as well as in many other states over the last few years. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, these higher speeds have contributed to increased traffic accident fatalities.

Researchers at IIHS concluded that between 1993 and 2013, increases in speed limits in 41 states were responsible for 33,000 traffic deaths. Fatality rates overall fell during the period studied, but IIHS says that the rates would have been much lower if not for speed limit increases.

Roads more dangerous when employment increases

Minnesota residents may be at a higher risk of getting into a car accident in a late-model vehicle according to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This is because a stronger economy means more drivers as well as increasingly risky behavior while on the road. The driver death rate for the model year 2014 was 30 per million registered vehicles, which is up from 28 per million registered vehicles from the 2011 model year.

Accident rates also vary depending on the type of car that is being driven. There were 11 vehicles that had no driver deaths while the Hyundai Accent had 104 deaths per million vehicles registered. Since the 1970s, the the number of road deaths in the United States had been falling. That changed in 2015 when road fatalities increased by 7 percent, and it is likely that the rate increased in 2016 as well.

What to do after a car crash caused by someone else

When a Minnesota driver gets into a car accident, it may be an unnerving experience. However, the best thing to do is to stay calm and first make sure that everyone is alright. If someone is hurt, that person should not be moved unless it is unsafe to remain in the vehicle. It may be a good idea to call the police who may be able to complete an accident report or provide other assistance.

In the aftermath of a car accident, it is a good idea to collect as much evidence as possible. This may mean taking pictures of the crash scene or getting witness statements. Individuals involved in a car wreck should exchange insurance and contact information before leaving the scene of the accident. Once home, an individual should report the accident to his or her insurance company regardless of who was at fault.

Distraction a factor in one in four Minnesota accidents

Using a cellphone or other electronic device to send or receive text messages while behind the wheel is a violation of Minnesota law, but this kind of legislative action has done little to stem a worrying surge in distracted driving in recent years. Driver distraction plays a role in one in four motor vehicle accidents in Minnesota, and figures from the state's Office of Traffic Safety reveal that these crashes claim at least 70 lives each year.

The increasing number of distracted driving accidents is generally put down to the growing popularity of smartphones, and the data suggests that stricter laws may not be enough to tackle the problem. Public education campaigns such as Minnesota's 'body bag" commercials have attempted to make motorists more aware of the risks and consequences of using electronic devices while driving, but most experts believe that advances in technology are more likely to provide a long-term solution.

Got injured in a car accident? Here's what you need to know

Let's say you were driving your new Mercedes home from the office one Friday afternoon and got sideswiped by a semitruck. Your injuries were catastrophic, requiring extensive medical care, surgeries and in-home medical services.

You've been receiving the best medical care available, but it's exorbitantly expensive. The only way you can pay for these costs is to hold the at-fault driver financially responsible. What's involved in the personal injury claim process?

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