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Northern Minnesota Personal Injury And Family Law Blog

How can passenger vehicles safely share the road with bikers?

Melting snow breeds excitement for Minnesotans gearing up to make the most out of the upcoming summer months. You may plan to get your boat in the water as soon as possible, take your camper on a road trip or explore the state parks. However, no matter where the roads lead you this summer, you must remain aware of motorcycles around you.

Three ways motorists can make the roadways safer for bikers

With loss of one hour, DST raises number of fatal crashes

Every March, residents of Minnesota may find themselves feeling drowsy after the spring forward to daylight saving time. This is natural, but it can have fatal consequences according to a study from the University of Colorado Boulder. Researchers there, analyzing over 730,000 fatal car crashes that occurred in the U.S. between 1996 and 2017, found that DST causes a spike in these crashes every year.

It is a spike of 6%, which means that for the first week of DST, about 28 more fatal car crashes arise nationwide, all of them preventable. In the westernmost areas of each time zone, the number of such accidents goes up 8%. The sun rises and sets later in these areas, and thus residents there are more likely to be sleep-deprived after the time change.

How to design a good co-parenting schedule

One of the most important aspects of a good parenting plan is the co-parenting schedule. With a growing number of Minnesota families sharing custody, an alternating-weeks schedule can seem like an easy way to ensure that each parent has equal parenting time. However, it's not always in the best interests of the children or their parents. There are other options that may be a better fit, particularly for young children.

The 2-2-3 schedule, in which children spend two nights with one parent, followed by two nights with the other and then three nights back with the first parent, alternating the next week, is perhaps more complicated but often suits the needs of young children. In their early years, a week is a long time for a child to go without seeing the absent parent. Shorter, more frequent stays at each parent's house can help children maintain strong relationships with each parent and keep both parents actively involved in the children's lives. It also may work better with the parents' work schedules, allowing parents to be more flexible in arranging childcare and scheduling other commitments.

New report ranks cities that see most car accidents

The nonprofit Go Safe Labs has identified the 10 most car accident-prone cities in the U.S. Minnesota residents won't be surprised to hear that Los Angeles is on the list with 19,660 accidents occurring in 2019. The city with the highest number of accidents, though, was Houston with a total of 22,188. This was followed by Charlotte with 21,818. Texas had three cities in the top 10 -- Houston, Austin and Dallas.

To arrive at their conclusions, researchers analyzed some 2 million collisions that occurred between 2018 and 2019. They found a 6.8% increase in the number of accidents nationwide from 2018 to 2019. Strangely enough, those cities with the highest crash numbers saw a decrease in 2019. Charlotte, for instance, saw 13.3% fewer crashes that year.

Strategies to help co-parents successfully raise their children

No matter how long a person has been married, going through a divorce can be a difficult process. It is especially difficult to deal with when children are involved. Minnesota co-parents may be interested in learning a few strategies to help make the co-parenting process easier.

Problems that led to the divorce can make communication between co-parents difficult. While it may be tempting to do so, using children as messengers is not in the children's best interests and often leads to messages being relayed incorrectly. Learning to communicate in a respectful manner and directly is more beneficial. Using email or text messages can assist in keeping the relationship as peaceful as possible and will also document conversations.

Do red-light cameras improve roadway safety?

Red-light cameras popped up widely in Minnesota and across the country in the last decade, providing a way for cities and municipalities to ticket traffic violators without direct police stops. The cameras take photos of cars going through red lights, focusing on their license plates. In many cases, violators will receive a ticket in the mail. However, while the systems are generally effective in increasing revenue and catching red-light runners, they have also drawn criticism. Some say that the cameras do not decrease fatalities and serious injuries due to car accidents, while others criticized them as a revenue mechanism that does not focus on safety.

In particular, cities like Chicago have been challenged over their implementation of the cameras. The well-known camera system was combined with the shortest allowable yellow-light timing under law, which led to a growing number of drivers speeding up to get through the yellow lights and a resulting increase in rear-end motor vehicle collisions. However, others say that poor implementation in some places does not mean that the red-light camera idea should be discarded. They point to evidence that the cameras increase the safety of everyone on the roads. After all, around 800 Americans lose their lives every year in car accidents linked to drivers running red lights.

January is big month for divorce

As the holiday season comes to an end, some married couples in Minnesota are deciding to part ways. Though divorce may be something that people think about for a long time, often January is the month that they choose to file the paperwork. The first month of the year has gotten such a reputation for an increase in divorce filings that the month has been nicknamed 'divorce month" by some lawyers.

Often, what people search for on the Internet is what's heaviest on their mind, and Google Trends shows that 'divorce" searches reach their peak around the second week of January. Searches on Pinterest show a similar trend, with the term 'divorce party" rising by around 21 percent from December to January. Researchers looking at divorce filings from 2001-2015 found that there was a consistent increase in filings from December to January.

Alcohol detection may soon become standard for new cars

Residents of Minnesota may be interested to know that a bill has been proposed that would mandate the installation of alcohol detection technology in all new cars by 2024. The bill comes at an important time. Drunk driving crashes are killing an average of 30 people a day in the U.S., and this comes to about one person every 48 minutes. Lawmakers believe the bill could save 7,000 lives every year.

One alcohol detection system, the ignition interlock device, has already been proven to be effective. This device is basically a breathalyzer attached to the car's ignition. If the driver's BAC is determined to be above the legal limit, the car will not start. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, IIDs prevented 348,000 attempts by drunk motorists to start a car in 2018. Since 2006, 3 million such attempts were averted.

Challenges women often face after divorce

Minnesota women who go through a divorce may experience different challenges in comparison to men. One of the biggest challenges they face has to do with a change in their finances. While men seem to increase their income after a divorce, women often experience more than a 20% decrease in their income and are more likely to live in poverty.

There are steps women can take to deal with the financial challenges that come during and after a divorce. Women may want to start putting money away as soon as they contemplate the possibility of a divorce. They will have to disclose this money during the divorce process, but it may give them what is needed to start the divorce. It is helpful for individuals to gather financial documents and start improving their credit score.

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