Distracted Driving Awareness

The National Security Council is encouraging drivers to take the drive cell free pledge, while the Minnesota State Patrol is working to increase awareness with its U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign, The State Patrol is increasing enforcement to raise awareness of distracted driving, which accounted for 7,666 injuries and 74 deaths on Minnesota roadways last year. Driver error accounts for 94% of crashes with distracted driving being one of the primary causes. In 2015, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 injured in the United States due to distracted driving.

 

According to the National Security Council (NSC), in 2016 an estimated 40,000 people died on American roads, the deadliest year in nearly a decade. This marks a 14% increase in traffic fatalities from 2014. Sadly, 94% of crashes are caused by driver error, meaning the vast majority of crashes are preventable. One of the leading causes of driver error is distracted driving, including texting and talking on the phone. Given it only takes one moment of distracted driving to cause a crash, the NSC is asking drivers to take the pledge to drive cell
free.

 

It is difficult to determine how many people use cell phones while driving, but the NSC estimates that 660,000 drivers, or 7% of all motorists, are using a cell phone at any given moment during daylight hours. Distracted drivers led to 391,000 injuries and 3,477 fatalities in 2015. In Minnesota, there were 7,666 injuries and 74 deaths from distracted driving. 

 

Drivers often believe they can multi-task while driving, but studies show the brain cannot perform two tasks, like driving and texting, at the same time. Simply talking on the phone can cause drivers to miss up to 50% of what is going on around them. According to the NSC, driver recognition is even worse with hands-free devices. Studies have shown drivers can be distracted for 27 seconds after sending a voice-text.

 

This month, the Minnesota State Patrol will be cracking down on distracted driving through its U Drive. U Text. U Pay. In Minnesota, it is illegal to send electronic messages while driving, even while stopped at a stop sign or red light. This includes e-mail, text messages, instant messages, surfing the Internet, or using other data like Twitter and SnapChat. The fine for a first-time offender is $50 plus court fees and $275 for a second offense.

 

More information on distracted driving can be found here.

 

Source: https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving

 

Blog Written by:  Eric Iverson, Attorney

 

New Ulm Man Critically Injured in Crash

 

According to multiple news outlets, Robert Eckstrand, of New Ulm was seriously injured when his motorcycle was hit head on by a vehicle driven by Ashley Sadler of Mankato. Mr. Eckstrand was ejected from the motorcycle and thrown into a nearby ravine and was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center.

 

Minnesota drivers have a responsibility to drive carefully. Unfortunately, many drivers do not drive with the care required of such a potentially dangerous activity. Many drivers think they can multi-task and still remain sufficiently focused; a misconception that often has tragic consequences.

 

It is important to seek immediate assistance from an attorney who specializes in motor vehicle crashes if you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a crash. Time is often critical in documenting and preserving critical evidence. Experienced personal injury attorneys can provide advice and guidance on how to pursue such claims and take immediate action to protect the rights of injured people and their families. The personal injury attorneys at Maschka, Riedy & Ries are adept at analyzing all potential sources of liability and recovery for their injured clients and represent clients throughout Minnesota.

 

Source: KEYC, "New Ulm Man in Critical Condition After Motorcycle Accident" Kelsey Barchenger, May 8, 2017

Blog Written by:  Jed Chronic, Attorney

St. Cloud semi crash kills 2, seriously injures another

 

According to the Star Tribune on March 18, 2017, Thomas L. Findlay, 66, of Sartell, was killed when his taxi he was driving was rear-ended by James D. Cockram, 61, of Owatonna. One of the passengers of the taxi, Emily R. LeTourneau, 22, of Big Lake, was killed and the other passenger, Marche D. Price, 24, of New Hope was seriously injured in the crash.

 

The taxi, operated by Elite Taxi, was stopped at a red light at the intersection of Highway 10 and St. Germain Street on the east side of St. Cloud when the tractor-trailer driven by Mr. Cockram rear-ended the taxi. The crash occurred at approximately 7:20 a.m. Law enforcement investigators say there is no indication Cockram took any evasive action or applied any braking prior to the crash. Charges are expected to be filed against Cockram.

 

Minnesota drivers have a responsibility to drive carefully. Unfortunately, many drivers do not drive with the care required of such a potentially dangerous activity. Operating a semi truck and trailer requires a heightened level of awareness due to the inability of such vehicles to slow and stop quickly and due to the disparity in their size in relation to other vehicles on the roadway. Commercial drivers like Mr. Cockram and his company must follow specialized rules designed to protect the motoring public.

 

It is important to seek immediate assistance from an attorney who specializes in motor vehicle crashes if you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a crash. Time is often critical in documenting and preserving critical evidence. When a crash involves a commercial vehicle it is important to select an attorney with experience in such cases and well versed in the regulations that apply to the commercial trucking industry. The personal injury attorneys at Maschka, Riedy & Ries are adept at analyzing all potential sources of liability and recovery for their injured clients and
represent clients throughout Minnesota and have extensive experience in crashes involving commercial motor vehicles.

 

Source: Star Tribune, "Charges likely against semi driver who allegedly hit cab at St. Cloud light, killed 2" Paul Walsh, March 18, 2017.

Writen by:  Jed Chronic, Maschka, Riedy & Ries Law Firm

Truck Crash Kills 1 South of Mapleton

Multiple news outlets are reporting on a crash that occurred on March 29, 2017. Alan Remington, 65, of Wells, was killed when his Buick LeSabre collided
with a commercial truck driven by Danny Salazar of North Mankato. Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Casey Meagher said, "A commercial vehicle that was traveling on Highway 30 failed to yield at the stop sign and crashed into a passenger car that was traveling on Highway 22." The State Patrol is investigating the crash.

 

Alan Remington, of Wells, was southbound on Highway 22 when a delivery truck failed to yield the right of way at the intersection with Highway 30 and caused a collision between the two vehicles. Mr. Remington was killed in the crash with the truck driven by Danny Salazar of North Mankato.

 

Minnesota drivers have a responsibility to drive carefully. Unfortunately, many drivers do not drive with the care required of such a potentially dangerous activity. Operating a commercial truck requires a heightened level of awareness due to the inability of such vehicles to slow and stop quickly and due to the disparity in their size in relation to other vehicles on the roadway. Commercial drivers like Mr. Salazar and his company must follow specialized rules designed to protect the motoring public.

 

It is important to seek immediate assistance from an attorney who specializes in motor vehicle crashes if you or someone you know has been killed in a crash. Time is often critical in documenting and preserving critical evidence. When a crash involves a commercial vehicle it is important to select an attorney with experience in such cases and well versed in the regulations that apply to the commercial trucking industry. The personal injury attorneys at Maschka, Riedy & Ries are adept at analyzing all potential sources of liability and have extensive experience in crashes involving commercial motor vehicles.

 

Sources: KEYC, "UPDATE: State Patrol Investigating Fatal Accident Near Mapleton" Ashley Hanley, March 29, 2017. Mankato Free Press, "Fatal accident near Mapleton" Pat Christman, March 29, 2017.

Blue Earth Man Injured After Collision with On-Track Railroad Equipment

 

Multiple news outlets are reporting that one person was injured after a collision between his SUV and a piece of on-track railroad maintenance equipment.

 

Justin Elzenga, 24, of rural Blue Earth, Minnesota was driving his SUV on 400th Avenue when he collided with a piece of on-track railroad maintenance equipment. Mr. Elzenga was airlifted to Rochester to treat his injuries.

 

It appears the only eye-witnesses to the crash were the railroad employees on the maintenance machine. From my experience handling serious injury cases involving railroad crossing collisions, caution must be exercised in putting too much weight into initial reports. For example, in another similar case I handled, the on-track equipment had a duty to yield to all motorists at railroad crossings. From the initial accounts in that case it appeared the motorist was at fault for pulling on the tracks in front of the on-track equipment, but as we dug into the railroad's rules, it was discovered the right of way rule was violated by the railroad employees and not the motorist.

 

Author:  Jed Chronic