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Minneapolis Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Automaker introduces technology to stop drunk drivers

Drunk driving continues to pose a major danger on roadways throughout Minnesota and the rest of America. In 2017 alone, 10,874 people lost their lives as a result of car crashes caused by drunk driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Volvo is planning to take action by using technology that could stop drunk drivers before they cause an accident. This advanced in-car technology would become available by the early 2020s, the automaker asserted.

According to Volvo, its system would make use of sensors and cameras inside the car to monitor the driver for signs of drunkenness or even distraction. The car itself would have autonomous technology installed that could take over if a driver did not respond to a warning system. The carmaker noted that the system is specifically designed to avert dangerous motor vehicle accidents. It is not the only technological safety enhancement pursued by Volvo; in March 2019, the company announced that it would soon start building its cars with a 112 mph speed limit cap.

Distracted driving continues in Minnesota and throughout the US

According to the 2019 Travelers Risk Index, distracted driving continues to be a major problem in America. The Travelers survey data shows that roughly 80% of consumers talk on the phone while driving. While distracted driving presents a number of potential liability risks for enterprises, researchers say that management often encourages workers to stay connected via cellphone technology.

The Travelers Companies obtained the statistics by surveying over 2,000 consumers and executives about driving while distracted and why they engaged in such behaviors. The most common driving distractions included typing an email or text, accessing social media, taking photos/recording videos and shopping online.

Private track testing to improve driverless cars

Self-driving cars may soon become common on roadways across Minnesota. Developers and manufacturers are working to make the technology that operates self-driving cars safer by using virtual pedestrians to test software.

Test tracks are being used to make the technology in driverless cars safer after several high-profile accidents caused public concern. Auto manufacturers are in a race to bring these cars to public roadways, but their efforts were stalled after a car accident killed a pedestrian last year. The vehicle was part of Uber's driverless car testing program.

Pedestrian fatalities on the rise according to new report

More people in Minnesota and other states are walking, driving SUVs and using smartphones. These are the same things that could be contributing to more pedestrian fatalities according to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association. It's estimated that more than 6,000 people lost their lives while walking in 2018, which is the highest level seen since 1990. This is an increase of more than 50 percent from the previous low of about 4,000 pedestrian fatalities in 2009.

Most pedestrian accidents occur after dark with nighttime incidents accounting for more than 90 percent of the overall increase in pedestrian deaths. For this reason, the report states the need to educate drivers about the dangers of driving while distracted, drowsy or impaired. Nearly half of all fatal accidents for people on foot involved an alcohol-impaired driver or pedestrian.

What happens when you accept a settlement that's too low?

Motor vehicle crashes almost invariably bring some amount of financial uncertainty with them. Except for those who are incredibly rich, individuals who get into car accidents likely have to worry about lost wages, the damage to their cars and the cost of medical treatment.

Unfortunately for the people who get hurt in crashes, that financial hardship can sometimes lead them to make bad decisions about their insurance claim. People will jump at the offer for a cash settlement without truly analyzing the settlement.

Determining the extent of car crash damage and injuries

Drivers in Minnesota should know what steps to take in the wake of an auto accident. They must first of all stay as calm as possible; this is crucial for remembering key details later on. With the right information, they can make the filing of their car insurance claim much smoother.

If anyone is in need of immediate medical care, it's important to call 911. If the vehicles are also in immediate danger, they should be moved. Otherwise, drivers are to leave the accident scene as it is. Taking photographs is essential. This includes physical injuries, skid marks, damage to the vehicle and damage to trees, light poles and other structures. Drivers should also document how they and the other parties feel. Even a slight backache can turn out to be something serious. If any personal items are missing or damaged, such as electronic devices or items in one's wallet, these should be listed.

GHSA on how to reduce speeding-related crashes

A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association should be of interest to anyone in Minnesota who is concerned about the prevalence of speeding on the roadways. Speeding contributes to nearly one-third of all motor vehicle-related fatalities, yet many consider it culturally acceptable. The GHSA has thus recommended various ways that the members of its State Highway Safety Offices can reduce speeding.

Speeding increases not only the chance of a crash but also the severity of crashes and injuries, especially among pedestrians and bicyclists. Conversely, even a slight decrease in speed can reduce the severity and save lives. Urban areas like Boston and New York City have lowered their speed limits in the effort to reduce overall vehicle speeds.

Safety experts aim to reduce pedestrians' risks

When pedestrians in Minnesota are involved in a car accident, the consequences can be particularly severe. In early January 2019, four people lost their lives when trying to cross the street in the St. Paul area, a spate of deaths that prompted concern from safety advocates and researchers. One research group went out and crossed over 16,000 intersections in the region in order to spot points of potential danger and highlight ways to make the crossings safer for everyone involved. In addition, researchers worked jointly with police to increase enforcement for vehicle violations at crosswalks as well as to improve pedestrian visibility.

Researchers noted that they experienced only 32 percent of cars yielding to pedestrians when they began the experiment, but that number increased to 60 percent after the enforcement and visibility efforts. At some intersections, yield rates were greater than 70 percent. These statistics were backed up by some statewide improvement. In 2016, 60 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents, a number that fell to 42 by 2018. However, this still leaves plenty of room for dangerous and deadly crashes. The goal of safety researchers is to achieve zero deaths in roadway accidents, not merely to reduce them from a peak rate.

AAA study analyzes distracting features on 2017 vehicles

Researchers contracted by AAA recently analyzed 30 in-car infotainment systems on new 2017 models. Their findings should be of interest to many drivers in Minnesota, especially those who are not aware of the ways that technology can be distracting. One in three Americans uses an infotainment system behind the wheel, which means potentially thousands of cases of distracted driving every day.

Of the 30 systems, seven demanded a moderate level of attention from drivers, 11 a high level and 12 a very high level. The study participants, who were between the ages of 21 and 36, were told to use the various features of the systems while on the road. Researchers noted the unsafe behaviors that drivers exhibited when distracted: ignoring stop signs, swerving out of lanes, driving excessively slow and more.

Avoiding and defusing road rage in Minnesota

Over time, every driver will encounter a motorist who is impatient and aggressive. By following a few tips, however, one can defuse road rage and prevent any accidents from occurring. The first tip is to stay calm. If they are cut off, drivers should not honk the horn, flash their headlights or make hand gestures. If they do, this will only inflame the other driver. They should not even make eye contact as this can be interpreted as a challenge.

There are various ways for offended drivers to stay calm. They could listen to music that relieves stress, or they could tell themselves that being angry will not get them home any earlier. If another motorist steals a parking space, one should give that person the benefit of the doubt and assume he or she did not see them. Keep a light grip on the steering wheel; tightly gripping it will constrict blood flow and cause headaches.

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