Fatal traffic accidents are growing in Minnesota, in part fueled by a dramatic increase in motorcycle fatalities.
The number of people who have been killed on Minnesota’s roads and highways is up significantly this year, according to MPR News. Like other states across the nation, Minnesota is witnessing a steep rise in fatal accidents due to a wide variety of factors, including distracted driving. One segment of the population that has been particularly hard-hit by the increasing danger is motorcyclists. Statistics show that fatal motorcycle accidents have risen dramatically in 2015.
By mid-July of this year, Minnesota had recorded over 200 traffic fatalities, which was a 21 percent jump compared to the same time last year when 166 people had died. The unfortunate figures represent a reversal of a long-term decline in the state’s traffic fatality figures. In 2014, for example, traffic fatalities in Minnesota, at 361, had reached their lowest point since the end of World War II.
This year’s increase is not isolated to Minnesota, however. Many states are seeing similar increases, which has lead analysts to look for nationwide causes that may explain the rise. Lower gas prices, for example, may be encouraging more people to spend time on the road. Also, distracted driving, a constantly growing threat with every new smartphone and in-car gadget, is a significant cause in many car accidents. In Minnesota, for example, distracted driving became the leading contributing factor in car accidents last year, overtaking speeding.
One aspect of Minnesota’s higher traffic fatality rate that is particularly grim, however, is the number of motorcyclists who have been killed. As the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports, as of the end of August 47 motorcyclists have died in Minnesota in 2015, more than were killed during all of last year. In fact, fatal motorcycle accidents have soared 47 percent this year.
The high figures are a reminder of the importance of safety not just for motorcyclists but for all drivers. While motorcyclists can help protect themselves by wearing reflective clothing and helmets, other drivers need to remember to pay attention to their surroundings at all times. Because of their comparatively small size, motorcycles can easily be overlooked by other drivers on the road, especially when those drivers are distracted. Motorcyclists are, for example, at increased risk of being injured or killed by a driver who changes lanes without first checking his or her blind spot or when a car in front of a motorcycle brakes suddenly.
With the risks to Minnesotan drivers increasing, it is important for those who have been injured on the road to know that help is available. A personal injury attorney should be contacted as soon after an accident as possible. An accident can cause severe emotional, physical, and financial hardship, but, with the help of an attorney, accident victims can find out how those hardships may be mitigated, including by possibly pursuing financial compensation against any at-fault drivers.