When a Minnesota driver makes the decision to get behind the wheel of their car they assume a duty of care to those who they will encounter. That means that they will act reasonably behind the wheel and will avoid engaging in behaviors that may be dangerous. Not allowing distractions to interfere with driving, not consuming alcohol before driving, and following the laws of the road are all good ways to meet one's driving duty.
Smart phones have become an indispensable part of Minnesota residents' lives. They have become so pervasive that law enforcement officials across the state have to be on the lookout for drivers who use their handheld devices while operating their motor vehicles. Texting and driving is a dangerous practice because it takes a driver's eyes off the road. When drivers divert their attention from the road, they could hit a pedestrian crossing the street or walking along the road.
School may be out for the summer for most Minnesota kids but that does not mean that drivers will stop seeing them out on local roads. As temperatures climb and children look for ways to have fun, they may increase their trips to their local parks, pools, and other areas of recreation. As they do, they may travel on foot to get to their destinations.
As winter finally releases its grip on Minnesota and warmer temperatures come, more pedestrians will be out and about on our state's streets. Some people prefer to walk to their destinations rather than drive, especially if roads are congested, if they want to reduce their carbon footprint, or if they simply want to enjoy some fresh air and exercise. However, motorists must keep in mind that pedestrians have every right to share the road. The failure of motorists to drive with due care around pedestrians could lead to an accident that injures or kills the pedestrian.
One might assume that pedestrian safety is only an issue in highly-populated cities in Minnesota. However, pedestrians in rural areas are also at risk of being struck by a car. In fact, according to one study, pedestrian safety is a serious issue on reservations in rural areas of the state.
Winter may be coming, but pedestrians and bicyclists will still be on Minnesota roads. According to the Office of Traffic Safety, every year from 2011 to 2015, an average of 35 pedestrians and seven bicyclists lose their lives after being struck by a vehicle. Combined, they constituted almost 11 percent of all traffic deaths. Most of these collisions -- 72 percent -- took place in urban parts of the state.
When you hear last call at your local bar in St. Paul, Minnesota, you may think that it will be smart to walk back to your apartment. It is only a mile away and it’s safer than driving and less money than a cab, right?