Last year, 455 people died and over 33,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents on Minnesota highways. Approximately 1.2 million die each year nationwide in traffic crashes, and the World Health Organization predicts a 65% increase in automobile fatalities by 2020. When we look at the most common causes for auto accidents, we see that the average motorists’ primary hazards are the drivers themselves.
Even talking on cell phones with a hands free device can be distracting for the driver. Texting or checking Email while driving has become a dangerous habit, and as of August 2008 it is illegal to use any wireless communication device to read, compose, or send an electronic message while driving in Minnesota.
Other distractions such as changing the radio, eating, shaving, applying make-up, reading newspapers or maps, passenger distractions, looking at scenery, and rubber-necking are common diversions that can pull the drivers attention away from the road.
Driving under the influence
It is estimated that over 11,000 people have died as a result of drunk driving incidents in 2008. It is estimated that one person dies every 30 minutes from an alcohol related automobile collision.
In 2003, impaired drivers accounted for 30% of weekday and 53% of weekend auto fatalities nationwide.
Aggressive driving, tailgating, frequent and unsafe lane changes, excessive honking and not allowing others to merge are dangerous driving habits that contribute to auto collisions. Aggressive driving is more prevalent in urban areas where traffic congestion and the proximity to other aggressive drivers tends to contribute to this risky behavior.