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Northern Minnesota Personal Injury And Family Law Blog

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.

AI may be the answer to distracted driving

Minnesota residents should know that distracted driving is on the rise. While this trend is mostly due to the increasing use of smartphones and dashboard touchscreens, the truth is that anything that takes a driver's attention from the road is distracting. That includes talking with passengers, eating and changing radio stations. Distracted driving is behind nine crash-related deaths and 100 crash-related injuries every day in the U.S.

The problem is not lack of awareness; most drivers who distract themselves know it's wrong. For this reason, automakers and researchers are looking to artificial intelligence for a solution. If AI is incorporated into cameras and sensors, it could help automakers develop alerts for all kinds of distractions. Software algorithms may even advance to where they predict all possible human behavior.

The differences between mediation and a collaborative divorce

To begin, let's breakdown what is divorce mediation and collaborative divorce?

Mediation is a divorce method that unites both parties using a mediator. The mediator is the neutral third-party that assist the couple in reaching compromises. Attorneys are not required to be present, so if some issues need resolution but you want to avoid litigation and attorneys, and feel you can reach agreements without meltdowns, mediation can make a good option.

End of DST means more drowsy driving, night driving

The end of daylight saving time means an extra hour to sleep, but Minnesota residents who have to drive that day or the following day should prepare for drowsiness. The fact is that any change in one's sleep patterns can cause drowsiness, so the best thing is to go to bed at the time one normally does and then be as alert as possible the following day. Drowsiness can impair concentration and reaction times.

It's sobering to think that every year, drowsy driving leads to approximately 328,000 car crashes with some 6,400 involving a fatality and 50,000 involving debilitating injuries. Despite how 96% of drivers in AAA's 2018 Traffic Safety Culture Index said drowsy driving is dangerous, 27% admitted that they had engaged in it at least once in the past 30 days.

Three reasons couples may consider a strategic divorce

Most couples in Minnesota end their marriage because they feel that their relationship is unhealthy or because they no longer love or trust each other. There are other couples, though, who are ending their marriage purely for financial reasons.

Some have referred to this as a strategic divorce. It may allow a couple to save money on taxes or to qualify for some type of assistance that they cannot qualify for together. For example, when both individuals are high earners and they have to file their taxes together, they may end up forking over a substantial amount of money to the government. However, filing as single individuals could potentially save them a lot of money.

How can I keep kids safe on Halloween?

Halloween is a fun time for kids, but it can also be dangerous walking the streets after dark. That's why drivers must take extra precautions when driving on Halloween, as children are prone to unpredictable behavior as pedestrians. Consumer Reports offers the following advice to both drivers and trick-or-treaters to reduce the risk of a serious accident. 

When driving in residential areas, drive as slowly as possible. It might be hard to see kids dressed in dark costumes, and children don't often use crosswalks when crossing the street. If you see any children as you're driving, adjust your speed accordingly, even if that means going under the posted speed limit. Also, keep driving distractions at bay. While this is an important rule in general, you want to be alert and aware of your surroundings on Halloween.

How can I tell if my spouse is having an emotional affair?

Infidelity often spells the end of a marriage. This is true even when no physical indiscretions take place. Emotional affairs fall into this category, which occurs when a spouse shares a strong emotional bond with a person outside of the marital relationship. While there is no infidelity in the traditional sense, emotional affairs can still wreck a marriage, as explained by Psychology Today

Distance between you and your spouse is common with emotional affairs and a person may become distant for many different reasons. Your partner's affections will be directed elsewhere, which means you'll be left on the outskirts of the relationship. Your spouse may also be consumed hiding evidence of the affair, which leaves little time for you. In either case, emotional affairs can impact intimacy on multiple levels, from dismantling your emotional bond to reducing the level of physical intimacy you share. 

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