A motorist who has not slept for 24 hours is as impaired as one who has consumed five alcoholic drinks, yet an Automobile Association of America study suggests that about a third of them have chosen to get behind the wheel while dangerously tired at least once during the last 30 days. The dangers of drowsy driving are well known, but a growing body of research reveals that a worrying number of drivers in Minnesota and around the country are aware of the risks and take their chances anyway.
Research has found that women are more likely to be hurt in car accidents. One of the reasons for this may be because seat belts are not necessarily designed with a female body type in mind. Minnesota residents will likely be surprised to learn that crash test dummies are only designed to represent one type of woman.
Modern motor vehicles are increasingly including technological features that are changing the nature of transportation. Semi-autonomous driving features continue to make their way into vehicles on Minnesota roadways, bringing many advantages but also raising some new kinds of safety concerns. Many drivers are unaware of the capabilities and limitations of these technologies, and that can lead to car accidents.
Researchers and safety advocates in Minnesota are working to draw attention to the risks faced by rear seat passengers in a car accident. Many safety technologies have been developed in recent decades, including airbags and automatically tightening seat belts. However, while these devices save a significant number of lives and have made cars safer than at any time in the past, they are largely confined to the front seat. Some of the most common rear seat safety standards have not been updated in nearly 50 years despite the massive advances in automotive technology since that time.
Drivers can be distracted by any number of things, and that apparently includes memes. This was one of the findings of an online study run by the market research firm Wakefield Research and involving about 2,000 drivers from Minnesota and across the U.S. However, it is far from the only important finding.
People in Minnesota have good reason to be concerned about the dangers posed by drunk driving. In 2017 alone, 10,874 people lost their lives across the country as a result of car accidents connected to impaired driving. There have been various efforts to put a stop to the practice, from public awareness campaigns to law enforcement crackdowns. However, drivers operating under the influence continue to pose a threat on the roadways.
Minnesota residents may be aware that distracted driving is a widespread issue and even engage in it themselves. The Travelers Companies has been able to gather some interesting data on this trend through a survey of more than 2,000 consumers and executives. It can be found in the 2019 Travelers Risk Index.
Though the number of traffic deaths declined by one percent from 2017 to 2018, the fact is that the years 2016 to 2018 each saw over 40,000 such deaths. To put it in perspective, traffic deaths have risen 14 percent from 2014 to 2018. This is according to the National Safety Council, which also notes that 4.5 million people were seriously injured in car crashes in 2018. Minnesota saw a 5.8 percent rise in traffic deaths from 2017 to 2018.
A recent study conducted for AAA looked at the impact of new vehicle infotainment systems on the ability to maintain focus. Minnesota drivers with high-tech gadgets in their dashboards might want to note the findings of the study, which indicate that infotainment may increase distracted driving risk. AAA issued a reminder to drivers that the presence of certain technologies in a vehicle does not necessarily mean they are safe to use while driving.
Minnesota residents may be interested in learning more about the potential safety benefits of external airbags. Testing has shown that the technology, which is designed to protect against side-impact collisions, has the possibility of reducing passenger injury by up to 40 percent.