A Distracted Driving Twist: The Distracted Cop

Cory P. Whalen - SiebenCarey "Know Your Rights" AttorneyJuly 23, 2014

Minnesota state trooper Gregg Gerhartz knows the perils of distracted driving. He learned the hard way.

Many years ago, Gerhartz suffered significant injuries after being struck by a semi-truck during a traffic stop on Interstate 94. The accident was caused by a distracted driver. 

In 2011, he was reminded again about the dangers of distracted driving; only this time it was Gerhartz who was the distracted driver.

Gerhartz’s squad car ran a stop sign and collided into the side of a Chevy Blazer driving down a rural highway near Sauk Centre. The crash injured Ernest Uhlenkamp and his wife, Bernice. 

Moments before the accident, Gerhartz had been entering information on his squad car’s laptop computer following a traffic stop. 

This case makes clear that distracted driving isn’t limited to texting teenagers or minivan-driving soccer moms on cell phones. As squad cars are increasingly loaded up with high-tech equipment such as laptops, police radios and cellphones, law enforcement officers also can become distracted behind the wheel.

Technology is a blessing and curse for road safety. On the one hand, technology has made today’s vehicles safer than ever. On the other hand, technology has helped create what U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood calls the “deadly epidemic” of distracted driving.

For more information about accidents caused by distracted drivers, contact me at 612-333-9782 for a free consultation.

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