Distracted driving may have caused young single mother's death

On behalf of Restovich Braun & Associates posted in fatal motor vehicle accidents on Friday, March 4, 2016. 

Distracted driving appears to be to blame for the death of a 22-year-old single mother in a tragic crash in Washington County, Minnesota. According to law enforcement, the young woman was at a stop sign when she was struck by a 20-year-old man driving a Saab.

The young man, according to a spokesman for the Minnesota State Patrol, was believed to be "distracted by several items in the vehicle at the time of the crash." Authorities say that as he was traveling northbound on Highway 95 on the evening on Feb. 29, his vehicle crossed over into the southbound lanes and then went airborne, crashing into the woman's car.

The victim, who worked in a nursing home, left behind a 3-year-old daughter. Her father, in a sad irony, is a safety consultant who says that he "train[s] people on distracted driving."

The driver of the Saab was hospitalized, but released. The State Patrol says that they're still investigating the crash. There are no reports that the young man has been arrested. He is cooperating with law enforcement. His mother said, "He's devastated right now."

Under Minnesota law, texting and accessing the Internet while in traffic, whether stopped or not, are illegal. Cellphone use is banned only for drivers under 18 and bus drivers. However, there are plenty of non-electronic distractions that can lead to tragic consequences as well.

After the crash, an officer with the State Patrol took the opportunity to warn Minnesotans about the dangers of focusing on anything except driving when behind the wheel. He said, "You should not be texting a friend, searching for phone numbers, looking for a favorite song or messing around in the vehicle." In 2014, distracted driving was cited as a contributing factor in about a quarter of all crashes in Minnesota.

The actions of an at-fault driver just before a crash are part of the accident investigation by law enforcement. These actions can be used as evidence in any legal action taken by victims and surviving family members. Minnesota attorneys can provide guidance.

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