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.
Automatic emergency brake systems are among the most exciting new vehicle safety technologies to arise in recent years, and a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that they might work even better than expected. Minnesota drivers are likely to encounter more such systems on the road as all of the major automakers have pledged to include standard automatic emergency braking in mainstream vehicle models by the year 2022. A variety of General Motors vehicles from the 2013 to 2015 model years were examined in the IIHS study.
Automobile showrooms in Minnesota and around the country are filled with vehicles featuring sophisticated crash avoidance technology. However, a recent study from the American Automobile Association suggests that features like blind-spot monitoring systems, emergency braking and adaptive cruise control may be making the nation's roads more rather than less dangerous. Researchers from the advocacy group Foundation for Traffic Safety say that consumers may act recklessly behind the wheel of vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance systems because they believe that they are far more capable than they really are.
Minnesota teens who get more exposure to the consequences of dangerous driving behavior, such as visiting hospitals and morgues, may gain a better understanding of the risk of some types of driving behavior. However, they may not necessarily change their own behavior over the longer term. Researchers who looked at a supplemental drivers' education program in Texas said that data from a follow-up two months later was inconclusive.
There is a wide variety of ways in which Americans can get hurt on the 4th of July holiday. Drunk driving is a serious problem as evidenced by data from Esurance and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) that indicates that 40 percent of all highway fatalities between 2007 and 2011 were caused by drunk drivers during the Independence Day holiday. Between June 30 and July 4, an estimated 37.5 million Americans will be driving 50 or more miles.
Minnesota residents may be disconcerted by the number of smartphone-using drivers. As distracted driving and, with it, the number of accidents increase, others are searching for ways to keep themselves from growing negligent behind the wheel. To this end, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon have all made free apps available that can silence incoming communications and disable the texting function while the user's car is in motion.