Minnesota law requires motorists to yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian in a marked crossing as soon as he or she has left the safety of the sidewalk. Though the law is stated clearly, there have been countless pedestrian accidents that have resulted in serious injuries. Recent enforcement campaigns have shed light on how widespread the dangers are when drivers fail to obey this law.
Police officers in one Minnesota community conducted a campaign to ensure compliance for the second year that targeted several crosswalk areas over a period of days. Over a four-day span at a dozen locations, more than 163 drivers were stopped last year for not yielding to pedestrians. Of that number, approximately 131 received traffic citations. The operation involves officers dressed in plain clothes attempting to cross at designated crosswalks.
While officers are in the crossing, they are in communication with other enforcement personnel who are in vehicles waiting to catch drivers who do not stop within a safe distance from foot traffic. During one of these enforcements, one driver was injured in a rear-end collision. It was reported that one motorist stopped to yield the right-of-way to an officer in the crosswalk though the driver behind failed to notice the stopped car. The extent of the person's injuries is unknown. The officer was not harmed in the incident.
Last year, a pedestrian in White Bear Lake was hurt when a driver failed to stop. All of the intersections chosen for the enforcement effort are used by students going back and forth to school. One father remarked that he supports the efforts as he sees motorists failing to yield on a regular basis. Pedestrian accidents often leave the victim with severe injuries that may negatively impact the rest of the victim's life as well as significant monetary losses. A personal injury lawsuit filed in Minnesota's civil courts may permit one to obtain relief from the burden of these financial damages.