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What will it take to reduce accidents?

Our local fire department, ambulance service and law enforcement personnel had the unenviable task of responding to two serious accident within two days last week — one resulting in a critical injury, the other in a fatality.
As if that weren’t enough, we also received news releases this past week detailing two fatal ATV accidents, one involving a rural Olivia man, the other involving a Green Isle man.
The first accident was reported Wednesday morning, Oct. 11, at about 7 a.m., and occurred at Highway 212 and Chandler Avenue.
That intersection continues to be a dangerous one, despite recent safety measures that included lighting signs to warn of oncoming traffic. And, despite a four-way stop, the Highway 212 and Morningside Drive intersection also sees a large number of accidents.
We’re not sure why these accidents keep occurring on Highway 212 in that span from just east of Morningside through the split of Highway 22 and Highway 212 on the west edge of town. Is the road still not safe? Is it driver error? Are we too distracted?
The state of Minnesota has taken countless actions to try and improve highway safety. It recently beefed up its rules regarding the use of wireless devices in vehicles, hoping to cut down on distracted driving. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has tried to take safety measures on Highway 212 while trying to reduce the impact on the flow of traffic. Signs have been installed; the speed limit has been reduced. And still these accidents keep happening.
Maybe it is time for MnDOT to conduct another safety study of the Highway 212 corridor through Glencoe, and to take more stringent measures — even if it means slowing down the flow of traffic on Highway 212. Is there a way to improve safety at 212 and Chandler? We hope MnDOT revisits the safety issues of Highway 212 and comes up with some better proposals.
And if it is a driver issue, maybe it’s time the state of Minnesota requires periodic behind-the-wheel testing for those who wish to renew their driver’s licenses, rather than just taking a check at the counter when renewal time comes up. Maybe insurance companies can expand “55-and-Alive” premium discounts to those under 55 who are willing to take refresher courses.
It also seems that there has been an increase in ATV accidents lately, as noted by the two fatalities last week. Are ATVs not as safe as they should be? Do they need roll bars and better stabilization? Should we require drivers of ATVs to take a course and issue them a special license?
The last thing any of us wants are more standards, tests and laws. But if such measures can help keep our loved ones with us longer, perhaps we’d better accept them. A little inconvenience is far more acceptable than a lifetime of grief and healing.