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Distracted driving remains significant cause of car crashes

In today's constantly-moving world, it is easy for Minnesota residents to get distracted from the task at hand. Smartphones, touch-screen devices and other gadgets attract individuals' attention, even when they are engaging in matters like driving that should require their undivided attention.

As discussed last week in this blog, distracted driving can play a major part in causing car accidents. Indeed, distracted driving is a factor in one out of every four accidents that occur in Minnesota each year. This means that at least 70 deaths and 350 serious injuries involve distracted driving every year in the state, and these numbers likely underestimate the actual number of crashes involving distracted driving.

Given the serious consequences caused by this behavior, Minnesota, like other states, has enacted laws targeting distracted drivers. For example, it is illegal to read or compose text messages or emails while driving in Minnesota. It is also illegal to access the Internet while using a wireless device while the person's vehicle is in motion. Other rules are more specific to the type of driver involved, such as laws that ban cell phone use for teen drivers during their permit and provisional license stages.

Because of the prevalence of distracted driving, it is important for those injured in car accidents to determine whether distracted driving may have played a part in the crash that caused their injuries. Legal liability can be imposed on drivers who cause accidents by being distracted. Moreover, the laws referenced above can be used to allege the driver's negligence in the crash, which may support an award of damages against the driver.

Source: Office of Traffic Safety, "Distracted driving," accessed on April 30, 2016

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