PEDESTRIAN HIT BY CAR IN INTERSECTION – MN POLICE DON’T PROSECUTE
The Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an important story yesterday about the lack of criminal penalties when a car runs over someone walking across an intersection. Sadly, even where the pedestrian is killed in the intersection, the driver is often not even given a traffic ticket unless the driver was intoxicated or fled from the scene.
The article correctly points out that MN state law requires that drivers with room to stop must yield to a pedestrian attempting to cross an intersection – regardless of whether there is a painted crosswalk, and must exercise due care to avoid hitting a walker crossing elsewhere. There were 95 pedestrians killed after being hit by a car in 3069 crashes in the Twin Cities metro area over a five-year period. In all of those accidents, only 28 drivers were charged and convicted of a crime, usually speeding or careless driving, with sentences like community service, fines, or probation. Many more cases resulted in serious injury.
Minnesota has recently strengthened the law by requiring drivers to stop and investigate after any collision. Also, a 2015 law makes it a gross misdemeanor (rather than misdemeanor) if someone drives recklessly and causes great bodily harm. However, the legislature decided not to impose the greater penalty to merely careless driving that causes great bodily harm. Reckless driving is obviously harder to prove. The feeling of our car accident lawyers is that harsher penalties for failing to stop for a pedestrian in a sidewalk will make drivers more careful.
According to the article, there was about 2100 total pedestrian hit by car accidents in Minneapolis and St. Paul between 2010 and 2014, plus about 969 in the suburbs during that time. However, the speed limits are often higher on the roads in the suburbs, so the injuries are usually more severe.
Our auto accident attorneys have represented many people in MN run over by a car in an intersection, or the families of pedestrians killed in a car accident. If you are a victim of this type of accident in Minnesota, please call us and speak with an attorney for a free consultation. Our lawyers will explain your rights and make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to. Even if the police let the driver get away with it, our lawyers won’t.