Since the start of 2020, Minnesota residents have experienced an increase in the number of serious and fatal accidents. A decline in vehicle traffic during March and April did not stop the volume of fatal crashes; the number has instead grown significantly since prior years. 

Data from the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety shows that at least 24 fatalities occurred during a three-week study period. Overall, Minnesota reported nearly 76 traffic-related deaths during the first quarter of 2020. This surpasses the number of traffic fatalities by about 50% from the same time a year ago. 

Speeding and aggressiveness in serious crashes 

With fewer vehicles on the road as a result of statewide stay-at-home orders, officials have seen a surge in speeding motorists, as reported by the Star Tribune. Congestion on the streets and highways would normally prevent a motorist from “gunning” the gas pedal out of fear of hitting another vehicle. 

With fewer cars on the road, however, a lone driver may unconsciously engage in aggressive driving behavior. Pent-up anger could cause a motorist to abruptly accelerate and lose control of his or her car. Overall, aggressive or careless driving has contributed to an increased number of vehicle accidents, including delivery drivers rushing to fill orders. 

Holding a driver responsible for injuries and damages 

Although a motorist may obey the law and drive the speed limit, his or her negligence could still cause an accident. Road and weather conditions, for example, may require driving at a much slower pace, as noted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

Motorists owe a duty of care to their passengers and other drivers to remain in control of their vehicles and adjust their driving to road conditions. Exercising caution and staying alert at all times could help in preventing serious and fatal vehicle accidents. 

When an otherwise avoidable accident occurs, individuals and families may file a legal action to hold a motorist accountable and seek compensation for injuries or a wrongful death. If a delivery or commercial driver caused an accident while on the clock, his or her employer may also face liability. 

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