Safer roads may be in the future for Minnesota drivers based on a new federal government initiative to bring the number of traffic deaths and injuries to zero within three decades. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Oct. 5 that among its first actions would be efforts to educate the public about seat belt use and preventing distracted driving and driving under the influence.
The announcement comes as fatalities on U.S. roads are climbing. The first half of 2016 showed an increase of 9 percent compared to the comparable period of 2015, and traffic-related deaths in 2015 were up 7.2 percent on the previous year. The head of the DOT said that in order to reach the goal of zero fatalities and injuries, drivers, safety advocates, industry and the government would all need to rethink their approach to safety.
Wide-scale adoption of fully autonomous vehicles is predicted to make a significant dent in the number of deaths and injuries. With about 94 percent of accidents attributed partly to human error, self-driving cars along with advances in safety technology are expected to bring down the accident rate.
Car accidents may have devastating consequences. Catastrophic injuries, including loss of limbs, paralysis and brain injuries, can leave people's lives permanently changed. High medical costs and lost wages might take a financial toll, and the victims may then be offered very little compensation by insurance companies. When the accident was caused by the negligence of another motorist, an injured victim might want to consider consulting an attorney to discuss the advisability of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.