Minneapolis Metro Personal Injury Law Blog

Road safety for football game days

Autumn is an exciting time for sports fans. Football season is here, and thousands of Vikings and Gophers fans can’t wait to order their game tickets, wash their jerseys and attend parties at their friend’s house as they root for their home teams to crush the competition.

For Minnesota drivers, game days can be some of the worst days in autumn to be on the road. Traffic piles up in Minneapolis, and you’ll likely encounter more drunk and distracted drivers in your area than you would normally on the weekends. Whether you’re heading up to U.S. Bank Stadium, TCF Bank Stadium or someone’s house to watch the game, you need to keep the following tips in mind:

Minnesota reports increase in fatal car accidents in 2018

According to statistics compiled by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the overall trend of reduced traffic fatalities hit a bump in the road in 2018. According to a recent report, there was an increase in fatal car accidents by an estimated 6% last year. In spite of this increase, the director of the Office of Traffic safety is optimistic that fatal crashes will continue to reflect a downward trend.

From the years of 2009 to 2013, the average number of traffic deaths was approximately 396. From 2014 to 2018, that average went down an estimated 4% to 381. However, so far this year, there have been five more deaths than this time last year. In addition, 25 pedestrians have died in collisions compared to 18 during the same time frame last year. According to the director, the majority of fatal injuries can be attributed to speeding and victims not using seat belts.

Charges filed against woman who caused deadly pedestrian accident

One of the most difficult lessons in life is the realization that some of the most mundane and ordinary activities in life can end in tragedy. This past January, a beloved Minnesota grandmother made a decision that ended in her unexpected death after a fatal pedestrian accident. Though the crash occurred months ago, the woman driving the vehicle was only recently formally charged.

On that fateful afternoon, a couple had been using the gym facilities at their local community center. At one point, the 55-year-old woman decided to leave the center and walk home without her husband. As she was crossing a road near the intersection, she was struck by a passing motorist. That driver did not stop and failed to summon any medical attention for the victim.

Mayo simulator shows dangers of distracted driving accidents

Effective the first of August of 2019, Minnesota drivers are only allowed to use their cell phones in the "hands-free" mode while driving. Drivers may still use the navigational features as long as the device is not being held in their hands. This law is an effort to reduce the number of distracted driving accidents, and motorists who are caught holding their phones will be fined.

The Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, offers those who are interested in learning more about the dangers of inattentive driving an opportunity to try their driving simulator. According to a trauma nurse with the medical facility, in the space of just five seconds of looking away from the road, a car can travel the length of a football field. An estimated 23% of crashes are caused by some form of distracted driving.

Judge suspends prison for woman charged in pedestrian accident

In spite of the efforts to educate the public about the dangers of drunk driving, too many motorists still drink and drive. Though impaired drivers never intend to cause harm to an innocent person, the fact remains that countless families have been shattered by the loss of loved ones in these senseless crashes. Recently, a Minnesota judge suspended the four-year prison sentence imposed for the death of a victim in a pedestrian accident.

The fatal collision occurred last June. According to the police report, a 58-year-old woman was driving along County Road 101 in Plymouth. The report indicated that the driver inexplicably veered across two lanes of traffic, after which her vehicle went over the curb and struck a pedestrian. The victim died at the scene. Officers stated that the driver failed to successfully complete field sobriety tests, and a breathalyzer recorded a blood alcohol level of .108. 

Drunk driving accidents are down, but more needs to be done

Since 1998, fewer Minnesota travelers are dying in crashes along the state's roadways. However, in spite of the decrease in fatal collisions, there is still work to be done to further reduce the numbers of drunk driving accidents. Public safety advocates are urging a change in tactics to help ensure the safety of travelers.

In 2001, two men made the decision to walk home after indulging in alcoholic beverages. Unfortunately, one motorist did not make the same choice and wound up striking the two pedestrians, leaving both victims with life-changing injuries. Since that time, the numbers of crashes involving impaired drivers has trended downward with statistics reflecting an estimated 65% reduction in fatal accidents involving a drunk driver. In light of the fact that more than 100 people are still victims of drunk driving crashes in Minnesota every year, there is still work to be done.

Schools testing technology to prevent pedestrian accidents

Countless students begin their school day by riding a school bus. In the past year, there have been many tragic reports of children being struck by cars as they tried to get on or off their buses. One school system in Minnesota is currently testing new technology that may help prevent these types of horrendous pedestrian accidents.

The technology is called the Predictive Stop Arm and consists of a radar that can analyze the speed of oncoming traffic as it approaches a stopped school bus. The radar will then calculate the probability of a targeted vehicle's likelihood of stopping to allow the safe passage of passengers on or off the bus. If the computer predicts that a vehicle is unlikely to stop, it signals the bus driver with warning lights and a warning beep. If the oncoming car is calculated to have no chance of stopping in time, then an audible warning will be projected to students that warns them it is unsafe to cross the street. 

Could lawsuits over car accidents change how gig companies work?

One of the fastest growing job markets is the so-called "gig" market. These jobs typically involve independent contractors providing services on a temporary basis. Though this business model may save overhead costs, in the long run, this type of arrangement may prove to be quite costly. There have been several recent lawsuits over serious car accidents, including one here in Minnesota, that may change the way these companies do business.

According to the most recent lawsuit, an independent contractor was delivering for a local Bite Squad franchise. As the young man was attempting to complete an order, he struck a pedestrian. The 47-year-old woman died at a local hospital. Her family filed a lawsuit against the driver, his parents for permitting the use of their vehicle while he was possibly impaired, and Bite Squad. The suit alleges that the company shares in the responsibility since the 20-year-old was engaged in delivering under their name while distracted by their phone app at the time of the collision.

Get your teen safely through the year’s 100 deadliest days

Twin Cities parents know how excited their teens can get when summer arrives. School’s out, and the days are finally hot enough for kids to wear shorts and t-shirts and meet their friends at the lakes, pools and parks. But when your teens are driving, their summertime freedoms may come with deadly risks.

Your teen’s summer break coincides with the 100 deadliest days for Minnesota drivers. According to WCCO, the State Highway Patrol sees an increase in fatalities each year between Memorial and Labor Day.

Animal attacks often leave lasting physical and emotional scars

For many Minneapolis residents, the advent of warmer weather means more opportunities to enjoy all that the metropolitan area has to offer, including outdoor activities in favorite parks. Unfortunately, these outings can leave visitors with lasting physical and emotional scars if they become the unwitting victims of animal attacks. One woman recently shared the details of her terrifying encounter with an unattended dog.

The woman was taking one of her daily walks in Webber Park along the path that follows Shingle Creek. As she was walking, she was talking on her cellphone with a friend. She noticed a medium-sized dog approach from around a bend. She says the dog suddenly charged at her without any warning growls or barks.

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