Paul Aasen is President of the Minnesota Safety Council.

Minnesota Safety Council President Paul Aasen expressed concern on the KMRS Community Connection program that the number of workplace fatalities in Minnesota has reached its highest level in a decade. Most of the deaths from the 2017 calendar year from recently released data come from driving related activities. But, noted Aasen, there is an interesting urban/rural divide.

“One interesting urban versus rural traffic fact is that 65 percent of the car crashes in Minnesota happen in the metro area, but only 25 percent of the fatalities happen in the metro area,” said Aasen. “Seventy-five percent of fatalities in our state happen in Greater Minnesota.”

Some of the reasons Aasen gave for greater fatality numbers in rural Minnesota include the bigger mix of roads compared with urban centers, fewer controlled intersections, rural drivers tending to travel faster, a bit less compliance with seat belt laws, and – for those involved in a crash – a further distance to get to an Emergency Room. As two lane undivided highways won’t be disappearing anytime soon, Aasen recommends more visible striping on the roadways, rumble strips, and redesigning roads so there are fewer perpendicular crossings.

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