According to the Minnesota State Patrol, there were approximately 86,000 inattentive or “distracted” driving accidents throughout the state from 2011 to 2015 with 74 of those accidents resulting in fatalities. These figures continue to rise.
It is no surprise that this new phenomenon has led to a large increase of accidents on our roads. Throughout Minnesota and the country, new legislation proposing stiffer penalties for inattentive behavior like texting and driving continues to be introduced. In the ever-changing technological society we now live in, it is imperative to have laws that keep up with the times. Distracted drivers are a danger to everyone on the roads: passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers.
Here is a look at what some of the top accident causing behaviors by inattentive drivers:
Text Messaging Or “Texting”
Text messaging and driving has become a major problem on Minnesota roadways. Minnesota Statute § 169.475 Subd. 2(a) states that:
“No person may operate a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device to compose, read, or send an electronic message when the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic.”
There has been a public outcry against texting and driving building up with new anti-texting and driving groups emerging as well as public service announcements like the “It Can Wait” campaign. This movement has pushed for legislative reform that aims to crack down on the recent epidemic.
Texting and driving has emerged as one of the top distracted driving behaviors that causes accidents and injuries on our roads and highways.
Social Media Posting
There are a host of other examples that can lead to distracted driving. Many of them involve the use of a cell phone or other mobile devices such as tablets.
There are many social media websites and applications that millions of people use every day. The most popular arguably being Instagram, Snap Chat, Facebook, and Twitter. Without going into detail, these social media outlets allow users to post pictures and/or text online to other users in a social network community.
The act of “posting” becomes dangerous when it is done on the road. Posting on social media sites takes drivers’ attention from the roads and onto their phones. This poses a great danger to others on the road and can unfortunately cause severe accidents and injuries.
There has been a nationwide and statewide crackdown on cell phone use while driving. And this is not limited only to text messaging. For example, it is now illegal for drivers under the age of 18 in Minnesota to use their cell phones for any reason, including phone calls, while driving.
Applications Or “Apps”
There are countless applications or “apps” that are designed to interact with a driver which also can lead to inattentive driving. For example, mapping applications such as google maps or MapQuest can cause drivers to stare at their phones instead of the road. Other apps like iTunes can also take a driver’s attention away from the road, making them a hazard to everyone.
Using an app while behind the wheel poses a threat to everyone around you on the roads. This type of distracted driving can be easily prevented by simply putting the phone away and focusing on being a safe, attentive driver.
Other Instances Of Distracted Driving
This often occurs when an individual is running late to work or some other engagement and they have not had time to do their makeup. What is extra dangerous about this form of distracted driving is that it generally involves using a mirror inside of the vehicle, which then limits the driver’s ability to maintain focus on the roadway.
Usually another “running behind” form of distracted driving. Eating and driving can take the drivers hands off of the steering wheel and eyes off of the road.
Your Rights And Remedies
Despite all of the potential dangers on our roads, we can still take some comfort in the fact that our legal system provides remedies to help protect those who have been injured by a distracted driver.
Every driver owes a duty of care to those around them on the road. When a driver allows him or herself to become distracted by things such as text messaging, social media posting, or phone calls they then breach that duty of care and can be held liable for the damages or injuries they cause.
You may be entitled to recover compensation for things like:
Pain & Suffering
Sand Law has recently been selected as one of the top motor vehicle accident law firms in the Twin Cities. If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver in Minnesota, contact the distracted driver injury attorneys at Sand Law today to schedule a free consultation.
 Minn. Stat. 171.055 Subd. 2.