Minnesota has seen a rise in pedestrian accidents, with the state reporting 41 fatalities in 2020. This figure is an increase from the 37 reported pedestrian fatalities in 2019.
The causes of pedestrian accidents
A variety of factors cause pedestrian accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), most pedestrian fatalities occur at night and away from intersections. Drivers failing to yield to pedestrians and pedestrians not following traffic rules are also significant contributors to these accidents.
Distracted driving is also a major cause of pedestrian accidents. Drivers texting or otherwise distracted are less likely to notice pedestrians, increasing the risk of collisions.
What can be done to prevent pedestrian accidents?
To prevent pedestrian accidents, it’s essential to take a multi-faceted approach. This includes implementing engineering changes such as adding crosswalks, improving street lighting and enhancing road signs to help make pedestrians more visible.
It’s also critical to educate both drivers and pedestrians on safe practices. For example, pedestrians should always walk on sidewalks or designated paths, use crosswalks when available and wear bright-colored or reflective clothing to make themselves more visible to drivers.
Drivers should always remain attentive, avoid distractions and look out for pedestrians, especially in areas with high pedestrian traffic. They should also follow speed limits, avoid driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs and yield to pedestrians at crosswalks.
New technology to enhance pedestrian safety
Advancements in technology are helping to enhance pedestrian safety. Some cars now have pedestrian detection systems that alert drivers if a pedestrian is in their path. These systems use cameras or radar to detect pedestrians and automatically apply the brakes if a collision is imminent.
In addition, efforts are being made to improve vehicle lighting and design to make pedestrians more visible. For example, some vehicles now come equipped with automatic high beams to help drivers see pedestrians more clearly at night.
Prevention and saving lives
Pedestrian accidents can be prevented through education, engineering and technology. In addition, both drivers and pedestrians must remain attentive and follow safety guidelines to avoid accidents. By implementing these measures, everyone can do their part to help ensure the safety of pedestrians and reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities on the roads.