Mankato Distracted Driving Attorney
What is distracted driving to you? If you’re driving down the street, eating chips and talking to your passenger when you get into an accident, can you be held liable for the costs? Or is distracted driving about texting or talking on the phone? Every state handles distracted driving laws differently. Each has rules in place about what distracted driving is, isn’t, and what kind of activities make you liable for an accident.
Distracted Driving in Minnesota
Distracted driving is the root cause of thousands of accidents each year. In fact, the Office of Traffic Safety in Minnesota estimates that distracted driving is behind one out of every four crashes. It also causes an estimated 70 deaths and 350 injuries each year.
Nationwide, more than 3,000 people were killed because of distracted driving in 2013, and more than 420,000 were injured. Whether it’s texting while driving, talking on a cell phone, or some other activity, distracted driving is dangerous and potentially deadly. As such, there are a few laws in Minnesota that limit the types of activities you can do while driving:
- Cell phone use is somewhat regulated. Drivers under 18 who have learner’s permits or intermediate licenses are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving. Bus drivers and CMV drivers are also prohibited. Otherwise, you’re allowed to talk on a handheld cell phone while driving.
- Texting while driving is strictly prohibited in Minnesota. Any type of “electronic message” is illegal, including texts, emails, a search engine query, and any other data that requires initiation. It doesn’t include data sent automatically before, during, or after a phone call. Reading electronic messages is prohibited as well, unless you’re using a voice-activated system or hands-free headset.
Under Minnesota laws, an officer can legally pull you over for distracted driving without witnessing another violation. If a police officer sees you using your phone to text, he or she can and will pull you over. You can expect up to $300 in fines for your first offense. The dangers of distracted driving are far more serious than a potential fine; if you cause an accident, you can be held liable for the damages.
Is Distracted Driving Considered Negligent?
All personal injury suits use negligence to determine who’s responsible for the injuries in an accident. When a person is injured as the result of someone else’s actions, he or she has the right to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other costs associated with the injuries. Proving negligence, which is defined as a failure to act with reasonable care, is how you would collect this compensation. Imagine you’re driving to work when another driver, who was texting while driving, runs a red light and T-bones your car. You sustain several significant injuries, and your car is totaled.
The other driver’s insurance isn’t enough to cover the amount of damage to you and your property. Therefore, you’d file a personal injury suit against the other driver. Your attorney would collect information that would prove the costs of your various expenses in addition to information that would deem the other driver negligent. In this case, the fact that the driver was texting while driving, which caused him or her to run the red light and hit you, would be considered negligent behavior. As you can see, distracted driving puts you at risk for being ticketed, harming others, and being held responsible for the damage.
Protect Yourself from Distracted Drivers
Knutson+Casey has helped many clients in Mankato, Austin, and Owatonna who have been negligently injured by distracted drivers. We fight on behalf of our clients to get them the compensation they deserve. Whether you’re struggling to pay medical bills, missed time at work, have damaged property, or other expenses, we’ll help you recover the costs incurred from your accident. Contact us today to learn what we can do for you.