Throughout Minnesota and the rest of the nation, there has been a noticeable spike in motor vehicle crashes since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago. Some drivers seem to have abandoned common sense, making the roads a free-for-all ala “Mad Max” in disregarding the safety of others.
Dangerous behavior has contributed to many such accidents. For example, in Minnesota, 465 people died on the state’s road in the first 11 months of 2021. In a number of those crashes, speeding, alcohol, failure to wear a seat belt and distracted driving played significant roles.
No seat belts and distracted driving
Preliminary reports from the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety note that the road fatalities in 2021 represented a 27% increase compared with the 365 traffic fatalities reported in 2020. Drivers need to be careful and follow traffic rules as well as common sense rules.
Here are some of the factors and longstanding driver behaviors that lead to road crashes with serious and fatal injuries:
- Speeding: In the past two decades, speeding has played a role in one-third of the country’s traffic fatalities, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). In Minnesota, 32% of the fatalities in 2021 were speeding-related
- Drunk driving: It is usually easy to spot a drunk driver. They may drive in the wrong lane, misjudge distances and have slower reflexes and judgment. Nearly 25% of the state’s 2021 fatalities were alcohol-related.
- Failure to wear seat belts: Not buckling up has led to the deaths of many drivers and passengers. In Minnesota, 22% of the people who died in 2021 crashes were not wearing seat belts.
- Distracted driving: Electronic devices such as cellphones have become ubiquitous among drivers, some of whom talk, text and even watch movies. Nearly 5% of Minnesota’s fatalities in 2021 stemmed from distracted driving.
It is disheartening to learn that drivers continue to subscribe to such behavior, contributing to untold tragedy for many unsuspecting drivers, their passengers and families.
Always focus on safety
With some shortages of law enforcement, the crackdown on unsafe driving behavior becomes more challenging. This is why it is so important for other drivers to place extra focus on safety and always subscribe to defensive driving. If not, they may find themselves and their passengers among the latest injury victims.