Pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit after a fatal accident
Most people would agree that drinking and driving is a bad idea, as it impairs the driver’s cognitive abilities and reaction time and should definitely be penalized. However, they may not feel the same about texting and driving, even though recent research has shown that using a cellphone, even if it is hands-free, affects a driver’s concentration to the same extent it would be affected if their blood alcohol level was 0.08 percent.
This may come as a shock to many people, but authorities in Minnesota have begun to realize the importance of curbing this dangerous behavior and have started enforcing penalties similar to those of a DWI. Minnesota now has a “no texting law” making it illegal for drivers to read and send texts and emails, and even access the web, while the vehicle is in motion or even part of traffic, which means even while someone is sitting at a red light or stop sign, they cannot use their phones for the aforementioned behaviors. Under the stricter laws that went into effect this August, drivers who repeatedly text behind the wheel face an additional fine of $225 and also the original $50 fine.
In Minnesota, one in four traffic accidents are attributed to distracted driving, resulting in 61 deaths and almost 8,000 injuries in 2014 alone. If someone is involved in a car accident that results in someone else’s death, they also may face criminal vehicular homicide charges, similar to what would happen in a DWI crash.
In addition to criminal charges, the victim’s family members may be able to pursue a civil action against the distracted driver as well. Holding someone accountable for their negligent behavior may not only be one way to bring the family closure, but also to raise awareness and possibly reduce similar incidents in the future.