Pedestrian crashes, fatalities increase during fall months

Published 6:14 am Thursday, October 24, 2019

ST. PAUL – Shorter days and more hours of darkness during this time of year contribute to an increased number of crashes between people driving and walking, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. As the days get shorter, motorists and pedestrians should use caution when driving and walking.

Motor vehicle crashes have killed 33 pedestrians so far this year. According to crash facts from the Department of Public Safety, 45 pedestrians died and 987 were injured in crashes with vehicles in 2018 and 42 pedestrian deaths, while 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.”

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The crosswalk law 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.

The full crosswalk law can be found at