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Pedestrian crashes, fatalities increase during fall months

Pedestrian crashes, fatalities increase during fall months Photo: MGN Images

Updated: October 22, 2019 09:34 AM

The number of crashes and fatal accidents involving pedestrians increases during the fall season, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

MnDOT reported shorter days and more hours of darkness contribute to the increase in pedestrian-involved crashes. The department urged both drivers and pedestrians to be extra cautious when walking and driving.

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So far this year, 33 pedestrians have been killed in vehicle crashes, MnDOT stated. According to the Department of Public Safety, 45 pedestrians died and 987 were injured in crashes with vehicles in 2018. Meanwhile, 42 pedestrian deaths and 1,053 injuries happened in 2017. 

"It's more difficult to see people walking in the dark, so we see an increased risk for pedestrian crashes in the fall as daylight hours diminish," said Brian Sorenson, state traffic engineer. "Both drivers and walkers need to know and obey the laws to maximize safety. Remember, all of us walk at some point in our day."

MnDOT reminded people to follow the crosswalk law, which includes the following:

  • People driving must stop for crossing pedestrians at marked crosswalks and at all intersections without crosswalks or stop lights. 
  • When a vehicle is stopped at an intersection, drivers of other vehicles approaching from the rear should never pass the stopped vehicle.
  • Drivers should scan the road and sides of the road ahead for pedestrians.
  • Drivers stopped for pedestrians can proceed once the pedestrian has completely crossed the lane in front of their stopped vehicle.
  • People driving and walking should avoid distractions and dangerous behavior.
  • People walking should obey traffic signs and signals at all intersections that have them.
  • Pedestrians shouldn't enter a crosswalk if a vehicle is approaching and it is impossible for the driver to stop. 

You can find the full crosswalk law and additional safety tips for pedestrians and drivers here.

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