Minnesota motorists always face a risk of accident or injury when behind the wheel. However, a study by the Minnesota Department of Transportation has found that roundabouts can help to improve traffic safety and cut the number of fatal car crashes. This has been a belief of traffic engineers for some time, but is borne out by the study's results.
Thousands of Americans die every year in car crashes, and many of them caused by distracted driving. One small but critical factor in distracted driving is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Minnesota motorists should know about a study published by JAMA Psychiatry that shows the relationship between ADHD-related crashes and medication.
Although shift work has been linked with weak immune systems, high blood pressure, and conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, it is also leading to more car accidents in Minnesota and across the United States. The reason is that disruptions in the sleep-wake cycle contribute to greater drowsiness during the day.
The roads in Minnesota and around the country are becoming increasingly dangerous according to a fatal accident report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The federal road safety agency says that traffic accidents in the United States claimed the lives of 37,461 people in 2016, which is an increase of 5.6 percent over 2015 figures and the nation's highest road death toll in nine years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.