Discussions involving Minnesota frequently mention cold winters and one of the largest state fairs in the country. However, the state is also home to nearly a dozen Indian reservations. While these areas are often associated with casinos and various outdoor recreations, they are also the population with the highest number of serious pedestrian accidents.
The results of a recent study concluded that residents on reservations are at a high risk of suffering injuries due to car accidents. It is a serious public safety issue that has gone without widespread recognition. One of the reasons is attributed to a combination of residents resorting to walking as the most popular form of transportation, and the presence of major thoroughfares that run through reservation lands. The study was conducted by researchers for the Roadway Safety Institute, which is comprised of several universities in the Midwest that focus on traffic safety concerns.
Nationwide, Native Americans under the age of 44 have the highest incidents of unintended injuries caused by vehicle crashes than any other ethnicity. Minnesota officials do not have a specific breakdown for pedestrian accidents on these reservations, though it is believed that these types of accidents are under-reported. Tribal leaders have expressed a need for more collaboration with state and national officials in order to increase pedestrian safety.
In an effort to curb the numbers of serious pedestrian accidents, riding trails are being constructed on several reservations. It is hoped that the recent report will bring greater awareness to this serious public safety issue while dispelling the notion that many Native American deaths are caused by intoxicated driving. No matter where they occur, these types of accidents often result in permanent injuries that negatively impact a victim's quality of life. If evidence points to negligence on the part of another party significantly contributing to these injuries, victims may pursue recovery of their damages through the civil courts.