Twin Cities police try a novel method to combat seasonal traffic dangers

Texting while driving is not only illegal in Minnesota, it is a form of negligent driving; when a distracted driver causes an accident, he or she can be held responsible by victims for any resulting damages. Yet, preventing an accident is always better than the imperfect solution of monetary damages.

To that end, Minnesota police officers have recently been stepping up distracted driving enforcement efforts using a novel technique. In late April, undercover officers spent a week patrolling streets in the metro area from an unlikely vantage point: the inside of school buses.

Law enforce authorities got the idea when they kept hearing school bus drivers talk about the number of distracted motorists they regularly observed from their high position. Of course, a squad car rides far lower to the ground than a school bus, making it challenging for officers to spot texters in their normal vehicles.

In the recent crackdown, after an officer inside a bus saw a driver texting, he or she would radio a nearby colleague in a squad car with the tag numbers. Then, the vehicle would be pulled over and the driver cited.

The campaign was reportedly a huge success. Twin Cities law enforcement authorities have expressed an interest in continuing to use school buses as observation points in the future.

Most dangerous driving season approaching

If you were asked what the most dangerous season was in Minnesota in terms of roadway safety, would you say winter? If so, your answer would be in line with 83 percent of Americans, according to a recent University of Minnesota study. But, you'd be wrong.

According to statistics compiled by the University of Minnesota, the three months of summer are actually the most dangerous time to be on the road. The summer months represent only one quarter of the year, but account for one third of all roadway deaths. The rate of roadway fatalities in summer is much higher than that during winter. In fact, according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Fourth of July, a holiday at the height of summer, is the most dangerous day of the year in terms of car accident injuries and deaths.

So why is summer more dangerous for motorists? Part of it is volume; there are simply more vehicles on the road and more miles driven during the summer. There are also types of vehicles on the road in the summer - namely, motorcycles - that can be challenging to handle and provide their operators little or no protection in the event of a crash. Finally, drivers just tend to let their guard down in summer. With the majority of Minnesotans convinced that winter is the most dangerous driving time, it is easy for drivers to let the mind wander or to whip out a cellphone for a quick text when the sun is shining and the temperature is high.

Get help from an attorney if you've been an accident victim

Whether it's distracted driving or some other cause, a traffic accident can have a serious impact on many lives. A moment of carelessness, a slight lapse in judgment, can cause lasting injury and even death.

If you have been injured in a traffic accident, or if a family member has been killed, you may have legal recourse against the at fault driver. Holding negligent drivers accountable is an important way to incentivize safe driving and secure the compensation you deserve. Talk to a Twin Cities vehicle accident attorney today to explore your legal options.