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Twin Cities Legal Blog

Distracted driving may be factor in fatal crash

As distracted driving continues to get more attention in Minnesota and around the country, it is important for people to learn about accidents that may be influenced by a driver's use of a phone or other device while behind the wheel. The more awareness that is brought to the problem of distracted driving, the more laws and other things may eventually be changed in an effort to improve safety for everyone on the roads.

In the meantime, crashes continue to happen that may well be caused or at least influenced by cell phone use. One example is a wreck that took place along a stretch of Wisconsin 35 last autumn. A teenage girl who was 16 was said to be driving a sport utility vehicle in Troy heading north. Another car in an adjacent lane moved into the SUVs lane, cutting that 16-year-old driver off, forcing her to try and avoid a collision. In the end, the teen driver not only crashed but died at the scene of the wreck.

What are the biggest risks to motorcyclists?

The Memorial Day weekend is commonly considered the unofficial start to summer. For many people in Minnesota, that signals the real start to motorcycle season. Motorcyclists have the right to be able to enjoy their time on two wheels but always have to be aware of the risks that come with riding on the road with other vehicles.

Autos CheatSheet outlines the top 10 risks that bikers face at any given time. Of those ten risks, five involve drivers of other vehicles including those in the number one and number two positions on the list. The biggest danger to motorcyclists comes in the form of oncoming traffic. With the increase in distracted driving, it is no suprise that there is growing concern about cars that drift into the path of a motorcycle coming the other way. The second biggest risk is a car waiting to make a left turn that pulls out in front of a bike because the driver doesn't see the biker.

Who or what is at fault for your car accident?

It only takes a few seconds for a car accident to change your life forever. Whether an accident leaves you with debilitating injuries, serious financial losses or both, you need to know how you can rebuild your life and move forward as soon as possible.

One of the ways by which you can do this is to file a civil claim. If your accident was the result of the negligent or reckless actions of another person, you have the right to seek compensation through a personal injury claim. The foundation of any successful claim is clearly establishing, through evidence and documentation, who or what is at fault for your Minnesota motor vehicle accident. 

Security vulnerabilities could be safety risks for autonomous cars

For the past couple of years now, Minnesota residents have been hearing quite a bit about the development of self-driving vehicle technology. As technology companies and auto manufacturers alike seem to be in a virtual race to get this technology into play and get vehicles on the road, it is important to remember the primary benefit being touted by this advance: safety. 

Helping people be safer on the road by reducing the number of motor vehicle accidents that happen is said to be the biggest gain expected by the introduction of autonomous vehicles on America's roads. This is expected to be able to happen because statistics show that so many crashes are caused by human error or poor human decision making. By putting computers in charge, these errors and wrong choices can be avoided. However, computers come with their own risks and these ironically come in the form of humans as hackers.

MN teen wins 2nd place in anti-distracted driving PSA contest

We all know how big of a problem distracted driving is in the Twin Cities. All you have to do is look around on any busy street or highway. Sometimes, it seems like every other driver is chatting on the phone or staring down at the screen in their hand instead of focusing on the road.

Teenagers and distracted driving

Teenagers and drivers in their early 20s are especially likely to be distracted drivers, despite being told repeatedly that using your phone in any way while driving greatly reduces your ability to drive safely. Every year, dozens of Minnesotans are killed or seriously hurt in car accidents caused by distracted drivers.

How cargo issues can cause truck accidents?

On Minnesota roads, it is easy to spot tractor-trailers. While an increase in the amount of these vehicles shows economic stability and even improvement, it also presents a threat to public safety. Truck accidents are all too common, and many of them have serious, if not fatal, consequences. If you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one in such an incident, you may have legal recourse.

There are many reasons why truck accidents occur. One of them has to do with cargo securement.

Excessive force is not okay

Do you know the Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures, including the use of excessive force by law enforcement agents? There are certain things police in the Twin Cities may and may not do when they've pulled you over in traffic, knocked on your front door, or approached you in some official capacity. The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights protects all citizens in Minnesota (and throughout the nation) from government overreach and abuse. Even if a police officer suspects you of a crime, he or she must work within the limitations of the Fourth Amendment and other Constitutional provisions during investigation, arrest, and detainment.  

Your helmet might not protect you from a TBI

You wear a helmet to protect your head in the event of a crash. As you ride your motorcycle, you remain vigilant and watch for any changes in traffic patterns or obstacles that could cause you to crash. Even so, you can't ensure that other drivers do the same. If you become involved in an accident because someone else failed to obey traffic laws, remain sober or pay attention to the road, you could suffer a traumatic brain injury even if you wear your helmet.

Use of force by police

If you follow local or national media, you may have heard stories about how police officers have engaged in inappropriate conduct. This may happen in Minnesota or elsewhere and might include physical force. In some cases, this force may end up being deadly and an everyday citizen is killed. Just what can be considered police brutality and what is considered acceptable in the course of an officer doing his or her duty?

According to the city of Minneapolis, a police officer is given some latitude with which to make the decision about whether to or not to use force. This latitude is granted in part due to the situations in which officers find themselves and the sometimes limited amount of time in which they have to make decisions. An officer is given the ability to choose to try methods to de-escalate situations or potentially give a warning that force may be used instead of jumping right into using physical force.

Are traffic fatalities increasing or decreasing?

Are you one of the many Minnesota residents who has been involved in a motor vehicle accident in the past year or so? Perhaps you have even lost a loved one in an unnecessary crash caused by another negligent driver. If so, you may find it interesting to know that across the nation, the number of deaths in automobile wrecks has sadly been rising.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released fatality records comparing the the first nine months of 2016 to the same set of time in the prior year. The results are disappointing at best. Across Minnesota and five of its neighboring states - Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin - a jump of fourpercent was noted. Nationally, there was an eight percent increase in automotive deaths. This marks the second consecutive year for a rise in the number of traffic deaths in the U.S. for this period of time as an increase slightly more than eight percent was noted between 2014 and 2015.

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