Accidents involving distracted drivers claimed 3,166 lives around the country in 2017 according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, many road safety groups think that distraction is under-reported and the true death toll is actually much higher. This kind of crash is often blamed on mobile electronic devices, but Minnesota drivers can be distracted by far more than their cellphones.
Women in Minnesota and other states are more likely to be injured in car crashes than men. It's commonly thought that a main reason for this fact is because seat belts aren't designed with women in mind. However, a University of Virginia suggests that part of the problem may also involve crash test dummies.
In a preliminary report for 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there was about a 1% decline in roadway fatalities. Whereas 37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, 2018 saw 36,750 deaths. Minnesota should know that this is good news, considering the spike in crash fatalities that occurred in 2015 and 2016.
Passengers who frequently ride in the rear seat of the car may have more to worry about in case of a car accident in Minnesota. Of course, the rear seat area is generally safer than the front seat of a vehicle. This is one reason why so many advanced safety technologies are packed into the front seat where the driver and one passenger sit. Cars are safer than at any point in the past as new technologies have provided a number of options that help people to protect themselves in case of a collision. However, protections for rear seat passengers have lagged behind even as technology has developed significantly for people sitting up front.
Minnesota residents should know that Tesla has recently released a new version of its Navigate on Autopilot feature. This is part of the automaker's efforts to create a safer semi-automated vehicle. However, a Consumer Reports study found that the feature actually creates new risks for drivers.
Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance holds an event called Operation Safe Driver Week as a way to deter both motor vehicle and CMV drivers from engaging in unsafe behaviors. Minnesota residents should know that this year's event will be held from July 14 to 20 and will have a special focus on speeding.
Market research firm Wakefield Research conducted an online study on distracted driving, and nearly 2,000 drivers in Minnesota and across the U.S. contributed their responses to it. The results, some of them eye-opening, were shared recently by Root Insurance, which provides insurance discounts to drivers who avoid phone use.
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 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.
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.