Fatal Car Crash on I-35W in Minnesota
What Happened on I-35W?
On Saturday, June 20 on Interstate 35W in Richfield, Minnesota, 4 people died and another person suffered life-threatening injuries in a wrong-way crash.
Minnesota State Patrol reported that a Nissan Murano SUV was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of I-35W near 66th Street when it crashed into a GMC Terrain SUV going northbound just before 10pm on June 20.
The accident report revealed that 3 out of the 4 people in the GMC Terrain SUV died at the scene and the fourth individual was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center with “life-threatening injuries.”
The driver was the only person in the Nissan Murano SUV and died at the scene.
Increase in Fatal Car Crashes Since the COVID-19 Lockdown
A report from the National Safety Council (NSC) reveals that fatalities from motor vehicle crashes spiked 14% in the month of March during the COVID-19 quarantines. The NSC found that for every 100 million miles driven in March 2020, there were 1.22 deaths on the road, compared with 1.07 in March 2019. 42 people were killed in traffic collisions in the first 45 days after Minnesota’s March 16 stay-at-home order went into effect.
This increase in traffic fatalities occurred despite the actual number of miles driven dropping 18.6% compared to the same time period last year.
Lorraine M. Martin, President and CEO of the National Safety Council said, “Disturbingly, we have open lanes of traffic and an apparent open season on reckless driving.”
Increase in Dangerous Driving During COVID-19
Authorities claim that speeding, careless driving and blowing through red lights are the main causes of the deadly crashes.
In the five weeks after many states announced lockdown orders on March 16, the data company Zendrive said drivers’ use of cell phones while driving is up 38% over pre-lockdown numbers. The number of drivers who exceeded speed limits had also increased by 27%, hard braking increased by 25%, and collisions per million miles increased by 20%.
Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Gordon Shank reports that Minnesota has also seen a big increase in people speeding with fatal consequences: “In April 2019, Minnesota State Patrol reportedly stopped 58 people who were allegedly driving over 100mph. This April, they stopped 143 drivers doing at least 100 which is an 146% increase. The higher the speeds, less reaction time, the more injuries we have, the more fatal crashes we have.”
Michael Hanson, the director of the Office of Traffic Safety in Minnesota, said, “We’re getting reports every week of dozens of drivers being cited for traveling over 100 miles an hour. That’s just insanity for our roadways.”
The Zendrive report explained that, “As a result, every minute spent on the road is riskier, every mile is riskier. The data shows our anxiety over social distancing and growing attachment to screen has carried over into our driving habits.”
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