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3 taken to Billings hospital after collision with mail truck

A recent two-vehicle crash between a minivan and a U.S. Postal Service truck brought traffic at a Billings intersection to a halt. Fortunately for those involved, this was one car accident that looked a lot more serious than it actually was. Although the minivan ended up on its roof, none of the occupants sustained life-threatening injuries.

The accident happened during the early evening hours as the mail truck was driving north on a local street. At an intersection, a minivan, proceeding west, ran a red light. The minivan hit the mail truck, which flipped over and landed upside down.

Billings police officers and fire fighters quickly responded to the scene. Five passengers in the minivan -- two girls and three women -- were taken to the hospital. Fortunately, their injuries were not too serious. Although the individuals may not present symptoms now, they could have sustained minor injuries that could develop into something more serious down the road.

In the aftermath of the crash, police ticketed the 18-year-old minivan driver for failing to stop at the red light.

It is doubtful that most people who run red lights do so with the intent to hurt others. Rather, the teenage driver in this case could have been distracted, wasn't paying enough attention or was racing to get somewhere on time. In this day and age, unfortunately, many drivers are distracted by cell phones and other personal technology inside the vehicle.

Nonetheless, driver distraction is no excuse. The law obligates drivers to pay attention to their surroundings and keep a proper lookout at all times for other vehicles and obey relevant traffic and speed laws. Failure to do so could be considered negligence, and those who are injured by a negligent driver often have the right to bring a lawsuit for their damages.

Driving is an activity that demands our full attention. A moment's inattention when behind the wheel of a vehicle traveling at any speed can have devastating consequences for those in its path.

Source: Billings Gazette, "Minivan hits mail truck, sending 5 to hospital," Jan. 29, 2013

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